NY PUBL C LIBRARY THE BRANCH LIBRARIES
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F 1 R M E
SIR WALTER RALEIGH
ASTOR, LENOX AND
Sir Walter Raleigh.
(.If,',-: Ik, tuinting (artist unknown) in the National Portrait Gallery.)
Sir Walter Raleigh
OO j ' '
THOMAS NELSON AND SONS
LONDON, EDINBURGH, DUBLIN
AND NEW YORK
Th f :
* ' * i i
4 ;> 4 b
TILDEN FOUNDAl iL ,'.S.
I. THE LUTERANO 9
II. THE ROAD OF THE SUNSET . . 37
III. BELPHOEBE'S SMILE . . . . 61
IV. MANOA THE GOLDEN . . . 83
V. CADIZ BAR 107
VI. NEW TIMES; NEW MEN . .129
VII. STONE W'AL'LsV .V
VIII. FAIRY GOLD ' '. *
, . ,
IX. THE KING'S'. ) J A.TH. ...
) ' i -j , )
X. THE LAST VENTURE . . . 213
XI. " A BETTER INDIES THAN THE
KING OF SPAIN'S' . 229
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
SIR WALTER RALEIGH . . . Frontispiece
(Frsm the Portrait in the National 'Portrait Gallery,
THE BOYHOOD OF RALEIGH .... 32
(From the Picture by Sir John Millais, R.A.)
The End-paper>x' r c T;aJ7y'r(ie y '-ar..d: lyfejffhapter Illustrations
: an by ''Mr.
To Master George Edward Brown.
MY DEAR TED,
You have given me permission to
put your name in this book, so I owe it to you
to explain its purpose. It is a life of Sir Walter
Raleigh, told in eleven stories. I have taken the
chief scenes in his life, and made some friend or
follower write about them as if he had seen them
with his own eyes. I do not know if there was
ever a Gervase Luttrell or a Nathan Stubbs, but I
know that people just like them lived in Raleigh's
day, and saw and heard the things they write
about here. So, though I have invented some
of the characters, all that they tell us really hap-
pened, and most of the little incidents and speeches
will be found recorded in old books. It is a story,
but an "ower true" story, and you must not think
that it only came out of my head.
It is intended for all sorts of people to read, but
6 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
especially for boys. Sir Walter Raleigh is the
most boyish hero in history. Till his head fell
on the block he never lost his eager, generous
interest in life. He was planning great adven-
tures when other men are dull and middle-aged.
His heart was always young and that is a very
different thing from being childish. He made
many mistakes, and paid heavily for them ; but
no misfortunes could crush his spirit. When all
that he had built fell about his ears, he set
patiently to work to build it up anew. Like a
great modern poet, he
" Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
Sleep to wake."
He had almost every talent. He was a brilliant
courtier, a gallant soldier and sailor, a great dis-
coverer, a very wise statesman, a learned scholar,
and a true poet. No man ever got more out of
life, both joy and sorrow. He was never afraid
to take risks, for he thought that achievement
was cheaply purchased by suffering. His story,
if we look at it in one way, is a tragedy, for all
his ventures seemed to fail, and after weary years
in prison he died on the scaffold. But, properly
SIR WALTER RALEIGH. 7
considered, it is a happy tale, for he never lost
heart, and disaster never conquered his courage,
He sowed the seed which bore fruit long after
his time. It was the example and the teaching
of Raleigh that first set our people forming
colonies in new lands. The British Empire of
to-day, and the Republic of the United States,
are alike built on his dreams. So you see that
after all he fulfilled the purpose of his life, and
gave to the English race " a better Indies than
the King of Spain's."
Your affectionate friend,
SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
" Still climbing trees in the Hesperides."
Love's Labour's Lost, iv. 3.
5r p\VAS in the summer of 1564, I think, that
I first got a hint of the quality of my
playfellow. Our land in those days was at peace
with Spain ; but both sides watched each other
like sheep-dogs at a fair, waiting to spring on
the first show of offence. For had not that
gracious and magnificent lady, our Queen
Gloriana, scoffed at the suit of His Catholic
* This story was told by Sir John Buller, Knight, of Newkerne, in Devon,
to his grandson Jack, who when he grew older wrote it down in a book. A
second Jack, great-grandson of the first, used to read it on summer Sunday
afternoons to his nephews and great-nephews, one of whom remembered it
and long afterwards told it to me.
io SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
and Spanish Majesty, who was little used to
rebuffs from man or woman ? Likewise, the
Queen of Scots was threatening alarums from the
north, so it became all good lovers of England
to keep their blades keen against evils to come.
We were a band of five in the Otter valley, lads
much of an age : myself, the eldest, not yet
turned of thirteen. There was Dick Cham-
pernoun from Clyst, the hardest hitter and the
lustiest of the band. I see yet his yellow
tumbled hair, and the steady grey eyes which
death glazed five years later on the field of
Moncontour. There was Humphrey Sneyd
from ten miles up the water, who would ride
down on a pony to our Saturday's sports with
tales of the moormen and the outlandish ways
of the hill country. There was Harry Duke,
too, from Otterton, a silent lad, and the best
to handle a boat I have ever known. Indeed,
his true fellows were the sailor folk of Budleigh ;
for any hours he could snatch from his school-
ing he was off to the bass-fishing, or driving
his little ketch in the worst gales of our parts.
He had been east to Poole and west to Plymouth,
THE LUTERANO. n
but already he was sated with our coasts and
burned for the high seas.
And last there was Walter Raleigh from Hayes
Barton, the youngest of the four, and as silent
as Harry Duke, but with a different manner
of silence. He was the only scholar in our
band, and turned to his books as readily as
to a horse or a full river. He had a fine
virginal face, with the soft colour of a maid,
and a low delicate voice. But there was that
in his blue eyes which kindled at times into
naked devilry ; and at such seasons, though the
youngest, none dared gainsay his leadership.
'Twas he who first leaped the awful chasm
called Tamsin's Gap, and one winter day swam
the roaring Otter because I had questioned his
valour. 'Twas he, too, who at Bixton Fair,
when the sailors and the moormen came to
blows, headed a rally with a blunt hanger and
sent the hill-folk scurrying out of the town.
But to my tale. The summer of the year I
speak of was hot and dry, so that we lads from
the landward parts were fain to go often to the
shore to swim and get the cool airs from the
12 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
water, while we watched for great ships passing
out Channel. Now at the little port of Budleigh
there is an inn, The Flying Hinde its name,
much frequented of merchants and travellers,
and a place of resort, too, for the townsfolk and
the neighbouring gentlemen. Opposite the inn,
fronting on the sea, is a hillock of green grass
with a little flagstaff atop of it, from which the
eye has a noble prospect over the bay of Otter
and out into the narrow seas. It was a pleasant
place of a summer afternoon, with the bees dron-
ing in the hot thyme and the gulls crying. The
potman from The Flying Hinde would fetch
tankards of ale, and any day about four o'clock
you would find a bench of old seafarers telling
tales of the great deep. To such tales we lads
loved to listen Dick and Humphrey each prone
on his face with a stem of grass between his lips,
Harry walking restlessly with his eyes on the sea,
and Walter Raleigh sitting with hands clasping
knees, his gaze dwelling hungrily on the face of
On this afternoon there were but two on the
hill. One was Noah Stubbs, an ancient sailor-
THE LUTERANO. 13
man, wanting the left arm, whose family dwelt in
Budleigh. Noah was something of an oracle to
us younger folk, for he had adventured far in his
travels, had seen the Main, and dealt lusty blows
in the Spanish isles. A round shot in the Azores
had carried off an arm, and, being turned sixty
and well-to-do from his ventures, he had settled
in a cottage with a venerable mother to spend his
last years in peace. He was a square-set, brawny
fellow, very deep in the chest, with a swarthy
countenance and great black eyes like a Spaniard.
He had hoops of gold in his ears, and bracelets
of copper and golden wire at his wrist. His
dress in summer-time was no more than a shirt
and old breeches of seaman's cloth, below which
his great knotted legs stood out like oak-trees.
He had a habit of chewing some herb, so that
his teeth were yellow as doubloons.
The other was a stranger who came twice or
thrice a year to our port, and dealt with the
country folk in foreign merchandise. He was a
Frenchman out of Brittany, a man of Noah's
years but more fallen in his age. Master Laurens
they called him, and all Budleigh paid him
14 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
respect, for he had an eye that commanded it.
He captained a merchant barque, but no man
knew his home or his history, save that he was
of the Reformed religion, and had fallen out with
the French king in the matter of his faith. There
were some said he had been a rover in the western
seas and had repented of his sins ; others, that he
had escaped from the Spanish galleys ; while
others would have it that he was a noble of
France who for state reasons came to us as a
plain sea-captain. There was that in his grave,
manly carriage that spelled gentility, if I am any
judge of it. He spoke our tongue well, and
would often sit within or without The Flying
Hinde, listening to Noah's tales of his deeds, but
himself speaking little.
This day Noah was full of memories. He had
sailed with Master William Hawkins, father of
the great Sir John, in his ship Po/a, of Plymouth,
to the African coast in quest of negroes, and had
been ashore on nigh every isle of the Indies. He
deplored the might of the Spaniard, and con-
demned his insolence.
" Look ye," he cried, " he claims the whole
THE LUTERANO. 15
West in the name of Christ, and yet his deeds
smell rankly to Heaven. What English blood
can stomach the taunt ? If we so much as put
our nose inside his Isles, the odds are we are
shown the door with half our hulls blown off.
Is it fit that the golden wealth of the Indies
should go to fatten the Pope and his priests ?
The reckoning comes, I tell you," and he spat
fiercely on the ground.
Walter Raleigh up and asked him about this
wealth, and Noah's tongue grew looser.
" Ha'n't I seen it with my own eyes ? I ha'
been in Porto Bello at the summer Fair, when
all the treasure of the Indies is brought together.
I ha' seen the streets piled with silver ingots like
causeway stones, and mule teams from Panama
bringing every hour quintals of gold. Look ye,
young masters, there be no end to the riches of
those lands. Merchants walk the place like kings,
and the Spanish Governors are more magnifical
than any Emperor. Down from the mountains
of New Granada comes emeralds as big as round-
shot. There are pearls from Margarita, and
cacao and costly herbs from Cartagena, and dye-
1 6 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
woods from New Spain. Ay, and gold from the
length and breadth of the Main, as plenteous as
herrings on Budleigh Quay. There be a great
King's ship, you must know, called the Navio del
Oro, which plies from Panama to Callao, and
collects King's tribute on that coast. They fetch
it over the isthmus on mules, and oft I ha' longed
for a hundred Devon men to wait snugly at a
corner of the road. And out in the roadstead
you may see the fleets of Spain, twenty war
vessels with fifty guns apiece, awaiting to bear
the treasure home. I ha' seen the General of
the Galleons they call him General, which be
a strange name for a sailorman come ashore in
a pinnace with rowers in steel and scarlet, and
a cloth o' gold on the thwart, and negresses
a-waving palm-leaves to cool the air. Maybe
you ha' seen the sight, Master Laurens ? '
The Frenchman shook his head. " I have
never been to Porto Bello. But I have seen
the Almirante of the Flota come ashore at San
Juan d'Ulloa in somewhat less state. He swam,
with his arm on a spar, what time his flagship
THE LUTERANO. 17
Noah laughed. " The hand of God was not
idle that day, camarado. Would that it moved
oftener, for the sinking of a fleet or two would
ease His Catholic Majesty of a little pride."
Some one of us lads asked why, if such rich
argosies sailed the seas, there were no enemies of
Spain at hand to trouble them. I think we all
dreamed that capturing a Spaniard was as easy as
spearing a flounder in the Otter mouth.
" They keep together," said Noah, " like the
moormen at Bixton Fair. Nothing less than
a dozen great ships of war could master the
Galleons, and till Queen Bess fights King Philip
the sight will not be seen. But we corsarios
have adventured against single vessels, and often-
times cut off a lesser ship. I mind at the Isle
o' Pines But indeed I fear to speak of violent
doings in your presence, masters."
The Frenchman smiled pleasantly. "'Twas an
honest cause and a clean war," he said. " The
hearing will do these lads no ill, and I am too old
and worn to be corrupted."
" Well, 'twas but a little thing," said Noah,
nothing loth. " We had no better craft than a
1 8 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
frail patache myself, Tom Carey of Bideford,
an Irishman called Bourke, the Frenchman Jean
Terrier, and four Indians from the Logwood
coast. Our haven was the River of St. John in
Florida, but we laid up like other venturers at
the Isle o' Pines, under the lee of Cuba, and
waited for what fortune God might send us.
We watched the tall Galleons staggering up with
the land wind to round old St. Antonio, and
danced for grief that we must let 'em pass un-
hindered. There they were, like a flock of
swans, crammed to the bilge with gold, while
we hungry Christians sat on a hot rock and
cursed 'em. We durstn't venture, for one shot
amidships would have sunk our crazy patache.
We had captured her but a month before in the
Bahamas, and she was foul and rotten with ill
handling. For us to outface a navy was madder
than for a sprat to charge a shoal of whales. So
we waited and banned 'em.
" The Galleons went down seas and out of
sight, and presently comes another craft in their
wake. In a trice I see what she was. She was
the General's azogue, which had gone to Cam-
THE LUTERANO. 19
peachy for the Tabasco tribute, and was now in
a hurry to get up with her convoy. The silly
thing had blundered too far south on her long
tack. Then she had catched sight of the Galleons
to the east, and swung round and come down
wind after 'em.
" We knowed it was the chance of our lives,
and were in a stew to get started. We run the
patache out into the wind with oars, and swooped
down on the azogue like a fish-hawk. For a
moment we thought she had the heels of us,
and so she had if the lubbers aboard her had
been seamen. Moreover, had she stopped to
fight, she might ha' blown us out of the water,
for we carried but two old guns, which would
have missed a mountain at a catapult's length.
But she were mad with fear, and held her course
without a shot till we scraped her side and
skipped over her bulwarks. Two hundred
quintals of silver, camarados two hundred thou-
sand honest English pounds, besides a good store
of ducats. We towed her back to our island,
where we marooned the Spaniards, and in three
days got some kind of crew in her and sailed her
20 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
back to English seas. Fourteen blessed weeks the
voyage lasted, and Jean Terrier's leg had to come
off along of a spar crushing it, whence ever after
the Spaniards called him ' Pie de Palo.' That's
all my tale, masters. Now that I ha' run into
port for good, 'tis a kind of comfort to reflect
that I once had a Governor of Campeachy
plucking seafowls for my dinner."
One of us asked him if he had ever fought the
Spaniard at greater odds, for ship against ship
seemed to us dull fighting.
" Not I," said Noah. " They are better armed
and manned than us, and 'twould have been
tempting Providence too far to risk further odds.
We were weak with eating rotten flesh and
drinking foul water, and sweating 'neath a sun
whose every beam is charged with fever.
Would you have us add to Heaven's hardships ?
Besides, we loved not to fall into the Spaniard's
hands, for his tender mercies were cruel. At the
best 'twas the galleys of Cadiz or glorifying God
on the faggots in Valladolid Square. At the
worst 'twas such torments as only fiends dream
of." Noah, smiling grimly, bared his single
THE LUTERANO. 21
arm and showed a long straggling seam from the
wrist nigh almost to the shoulder. " The tale
of that beauty mark won't bear telling to young
ears," he said.
I noted that Walter Raleigh's face had kindled.
" Was there no man among you," he asked,
" bold enough to captain the corsarios and make
a fleet of your little ships ? '
" I ha' heard of but one," Noah answered,
" and he left the seas long time ago. I never
clapped eyes on him, but his name was as famous
as King Philip's. Nay, not his name, for I never
heard it, but a byname the Spaniards gave him.
They called him ' The Luterano,' for he was a
Frenchman of the Reformed faith and mightily
incensed against the Pope. But withal he was a
just man and a merciful, selling back his captives
like a Christian for good gold, and never wantonly
affronting a poor man. In truth, even in the
Spanish lands, the common people praised him,
for he would plunder the Almirantes and give a
good tithe in charity to those they had grinded
down. I ha' seen his topsails in the Bahama Keys,
and 'twas a comfortable sight to watch the caravels
22 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
and barques running for shelter to the forts like
pullets when a sparrow-hawk hovers. I once
shipped alongside his first seaman, a man out of
Cornwall, an honest lad but full of fierce oaths.
He had tales yea, by Harry's soul, he had tales."
Noah stopped and hunted in the pouch of his
breeches for some of the herb he chewed. He
pretended to be afraid of Humphrey, who would
have beaten him for his slow speech. " Mercy,
brave sir, you melt my old bones. You look
like the Luterano himself, when I saw him singe
the beards of the Dons in Habana tideway."
"But I thought you said you had never seen
him," I put in.
" In a manner of speaking I ha' not, and again
in a manner of speaking I have. Leastways I
ha' seen his ship, and I ha' seen him fight.
'Twas in Habana, where for my sins I was carry-
ing cut stone on the harbour wall along of
blackamoors and Indians. An ill wind up in
the Florida Keys had brought down on us a
Spanish ship of war while we were all sick to
death of the fever. She sank our craft, and with
it my poor honest comrades, but I floated till a
THE LUTERANO. 23
Spaniard grabbed my hair and haled me aboard.
They took me to Habana, where I was fed on
offal and set to toil with the Almirante's slaves.
'Twas a grim task to sweat there in the steaming
noons with the whip flicking off patches of your
hide should you halt even to wipe your forehead.
I was sunk in melancholy, for I mourned for my
dead comrades, and but for a confident hope in
God's charity, would ha' leaped, shackles and all,
into the sea.
" I ha' told you ere this of my escape through
the merciful dispensation of an earthquake. But
what I tell now happened in the blackest days of
my captivity, and gave me grace to pluck up
heart. One morning there came a rumour
among us slaves of a bold deed at Chagre on the
Main. It seemed that the Lord Viceroy of
Panama had sent his own caravel to Hispaniola
for horses, and that the loaded ship was on the
point of making Chagre when up comes our friend
the Luterano. His craft was ever a swift patache,
in which he would strike down the greatest
vessel that sailed the seas. In half an hour he
had the Viceroy's crew under hatches, and
24 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
presently all the horses were in the water
swimming to land. The Luterano wanted no
plunder, but only a seaworthy craft to oblige a
friend. He dropped the Spaniards into the
caravel's cock-boats to make the shore at their
leisure, and upped sails and made for the seas.
Here was a pretty singeing of His Majesty's
beard, and there was hue and cry along the Main,
and ships of war watching all the gates of the
Isles. But never a trace could they find of the
Luterano. Word came that a merchant had
seen his sails off Margarita, and next morn there
would be news of him from Campeachy. He
spirited about these seas as if he were verily that
Father of Lies the Dons believed him. W T e
poor souls on the harbour wall heard the rumour
of the tale and laughed at the jest of it, little
witting that we were to see with our own eyes
the next move of our brave gentleman.
" A week later, one blistering midday, there
rose a great crying from some small craft in the
harbour. You must know, sirs, that the bay of
Habana is a narrow one at the mouth, and runs
far inland, growing shallower as it nears its head.
THE LUTERANO. 25
The fort and city lie on one side of this bay, and
on the other is a green swampy shore with much
forest. We could see a light patache anchored
there, and every merchant captain in the port
shaking his fist at her and shouting that 'twas
the Luterano. And sure enough she flew at her
masthead the French lilies.
" 'Twas like a mad dog, that every one shouts
on his neighbour to kill but none durst go near.
The patache lay peacefully at anchor, and a man
on her deck played a little air on a tabor. There
were five Spanish ships of war in the bay, but so
great was the terror of the stranger that not one
of the five or all of them together ventured
near her. So there he might have lain as long
as he pleased had it not been for the citizens of
Habana, and especially my task - master, the
Almirante of the port, who was determined the
corsario should not escape him. So he summons
the captains of the Spanish ships, and bids them
at any cost take the Luterano, and promises to
pay for any hurt done in the attempt to ships or
men. Two captains refused, but three were so
shamed by the Almirante that they assented to
26 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
do his bidding, and sailed down on the little
" The wind blew off the farther shore, and
long ere the warships could tack across, the
Luterano was fleeing for the upper end of the
bay. He knew to an inch the depth of water,
and scudded over shoals and bars where no
heavier craft could follow. There he anchored,
while a quarter mile outside the Spaniards halted
and shot at him with their great guns. They
never came near him, but continued the salvo
till nightfall, and then, having a fear lest he
should board them in the dark, they returned to
" Next day 'twas the same. The five warships
for the other two by now had plucked up
courage sailed up with the tide and fired guns
all the day. The shots fanned the air, maybe,
into a pleasant coolness, but did not scrape a
finger of paint from the little patache. A
company of soldiers came round by land and
would have rowed out to her, but her guns
deterred 'em. The game was pleasant for the
Luterano, for he had good anchorage, sweet
THE LUTERANO. 27
water nigh at hand on the shore, and the spectacle
of his foes and their foolishness.
" The morning after, a hurricane blew down
on us from the nor'-east, and the shipping
in the port was like to break its moor-
ings. The warships did not venture out, for
their crews were as lubberly sailors as they were
vile marksmen. They lay tied up to the shore
with cables, one hull pounding on the other,
while we on the harbour wall toiled in the teeth
of the gale, thanking Heaven for the cool
weather. Presently out of the scud we could
see a little patache with every sail set and a bank
of men at the sweeps, striving to get clear up
the bay. 'Twas friend Luterano, weary of
sitting on a mud bank. He had no time or
room to tack, but trusted to the broad backs of
" Instantly there was a commotion among the
warships. And the three that had attacked the
first day made haste to pursue. They cut their
cables at the slack and plunged down wind after
the patache. Now you must know that the
tide in a nor'-easter in the port runs monstrous
28 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
hard ; and what with the wind on the beam, and
the furious waves and bad handling, all three
were like to have foundered. By this time the
patache was in the throat of the bay, and the
ships of war, thinking her capture beyond hope,
and being fearful of their lives, endeavoured to
return. But they could not bring the vessels
round, and the crews, falling into a panic,
lowered the boats and made for the shore. One
boat was swamped, but the other cargoes of
tallow-chandlers came safe to port.
".Presently the Luterano, casting a look back,
saw how things were shaping. He observed
three deserted ships of war tossing in the tide-
way, and being a thrifty man sought to salve
them. By Harry's soul, 'twas a sight to see how
he drove his little ship in the teeth of a full gale
and a swollen sea. We on the harbour wall
cheered him lustily, for in the confusion of the
wind none could hear us. He secured all three
ships, while their crews watched him from the
town. Having no need of a fleet, he laid a train
of powder and set two of 'em alight. They
blazed like a pharos as the wind caught their
THE LUTERANO. 29
top-gear, and settled down on the lee shore
to smoulder half the night. Meantime the
Luterano put some of his men in the third and
best of the ships, and sailed off to the Florida
Straits to lie in wait for His Majesty's Galleons."
Harry Duke tossed his cap into the air.
" Bravo ! ' he cried. " There was a man and a
seaman ! Would we had more of his breed ! '
Master Laurens smiled and shook his head.
" 'Tis a good tale, Noah, but in one matter
you err. I, too, have heard of your Luterano,
and he cared little for the Galleons of Spain.
He sought, like many adventurers, a bigger
Walter Raleigh, whose eyes never left the
Frenchman's face, asked him what that was.
" A new world," he said softly. " He cared
little to harry Spain, though 'twas a righteous
work enough. But he burned all his days nay,
burneth still if he is above the ground for a
new Indies, where the Spaniard hath never trod.
The West is full of the tales of it."
" Ay, ay," Noah broke in ; " I too have had
my hunt for El Dorado. I got a chart once out
30 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
of Master Potter of Bristol, the true tale of one
Tom Medlicot, with the bearings and soundings
shown. But by following it I ran into the claws
of the Almirante of New Spain, and lost chart
and ship, and all but the breeches I stood in. I
ha' never touched at El Dorado, masters, but I
ha' seen such a place afar off when wind and tide
suffered me to come no nearer."
We asked him the whereabouts of the country.
" 'Tis a week's journey nor'-nor'-by-east of the
River of St. John. There is a multitude of
islands, green as England, with air as sweet as a
Devon moor, and all manner of fine pastures and
orchard land. There are no fevers such as
scourge the Main, and no hurtful beasts, and the
soil is so good that a man may harvest twice a
year. I had thoughts of planting myself there to
wear out my old age, but the winds drove me off,
and ere I could try again King Philip had laid
hold on me. I ha' heard also from an Indian at
Campeachy of a land in the mountains in the
West where the sand of the rivers is gold, such as
you read of in Holy Writ. But all Indians be
THE LUTERANO. 31
" You have been to El Dorado, Master ? '
Raleigh asked the Frenchman.
" I have seen it," said the old man, " or what
I took to be it, but only afar off, like Moses from
We were clamorous to know more of this
Promised Land, and Master Laurens, wetting
his finger with ale, drew a plan of it on the
little table by which he sat. 'Twas Hebrew to
us lads, but we gathered that the place lay in the
south part of the Americas which the Spaniards
call Tierra Firme, and many hundred miles
south of the Main. It seemed there was a great
river which Master Laurens called the Orinoko,
a river as wide as our Narrow Seas. At first it
flowed among salt marshes, and then as you
travelled up its stream you came to great forests
where strange beasts dwelt and stranger men.
And after weeks and maybe months of travel,
when the river had grown little, you came to
uplands full of flocks and herds and fields of grain,
and great Indian towns where gold and silver
were of no account for commonness. And last
of all, when the river was no more than a stream,
32 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
came the high mountains. Far up in a vale of
them is a cataract. And beyond the fall a great
valley set among cliffs. That is the true El
Dorado, for in that valley is the greatest and
richest city of earth. The folk in it are as white
as we of England, and noble in stature and
countenance. They worship the one God in a
temple whose roof is solid beaten gold, and all
the streets are of marble and red jasper.
Breathless, we asked him if he had had a
glimpse of this marvel.
" After many weary wanderings," he said, " I
and three comrades came to the top of a high
mountain and saw the valley afar off. We were
faint with fever and huneer, and the si^ht revived
c." 7 C 1
our hearts. But there was no way to it from
that mountain, for round the valley is a girdle of
cliffs which only a bird may pass. For ten days
we laboured to no avail, and then famine drove
us back to the plain. One man of us would not
return, but what befell him, whether he died or
attained the city, I know not. Long after, I
heard from an Indian of those parts that there is
but one way to El Dorado. A man must ascend
THE: NEW YORK
THE LUTERANO. 33
the river and find the track to climb the cataract.
But the path is a secret kept by the people of
the City, and though 'tis known to a few Indians
of the plains none durst reveal it."
The tale set our fancies aflame, and Walter
Raleigh in especial could sit still no longer.
" We will make a band among us to enter
the Golden City," he cried, and we four assented,
while Noah sat laughing, and the old Frenchman
looked at us beneath his brows.
" 'Tis a road many have trod and none have
mastered," he said.
" Ay," said Walter, " but we will tread it with
a single heart from our first manhood. Though
we win to it with bent backs and silvered hair,
yet win to it we shall."
The Frenchman smiled.
" And when you win to it, what will you do ? '
" Then," said Walter, taking off his hat and
bowing low, " I will give our gracious lady, the
Queen of England, a better Indies than ever the
King of Spain hath."
That was the first time I heard the saying
34 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
which later was often on my comrade's lips, and
indeed was the maxim of his life.
Master Laurens approved. He nodded gravely.
" I think there is that in your brow, lad, and in
your eyes which spells fortune. It may be good
or ill, but 'twill be a high fortune. I think you
will win to the Indies and make much ado there ;
and if you do not win to El Dorado, you will seek
it all your days and leave the quest only at death."
Then he took from his pouch a little gold
trinket such as a man may wear at his collar.
" You are of the breed I love, dear lad, and I
will give you a charm to wear against ills to
come. Mayhap 'twill bring you to your
Promised Land, for 'tis from the tomb of a
great King of the Indians who died long ago.
It never brought me good luck, but it brought
me joy in the quest, and I think that is the best
fortune for a man. I cannot read the stars for you,
but I can foretell one part of your fate. You will
get great joy and great sorrow out of life, but
you will never lose the savour and zest of it."
There was that in the air and the occasion
which held us silent. Walter Raleigh took the
THE LUTERANO. 35
jewel, blushing boy-like a little, and stammering
" Master, I will wear your gift all my days,
but I would fain know the name of the giver."
The Frenchman smiled.
" If any man asks you that question in these
parts, say the jewel came from Pierre Laurens of
Le Havre, a merchant of silks and cloths, and
owner of the barque Saint Esprit. But if any
ask it you on the High Seas, or west of the
Azores, or in the Isles, or on the Main, say that
the giver was the Luterano."
THE ROAD OF THE SUNSET.
" We are those fools who could not rest
In the dull earth we left behind,
But burned with passion for the West,
And drank a frenzy from its wind ;
The world where small men live at ease
Fades from our unregretful eyes,
And blind across uncharted seas
We stagger on our enterprise."
- The Ship of Fools.
THE ROAD OF THE SUNSET.*
. . . ^HE country I travelled was as wild as
the nether limits of Muscovy. From
the ill-marked track ran wastes of bog and stone,
with shining pools of water scattered among
them, and at intervals a roaring stream, brown as
October ale. No human habitation appeared,
though here and there was a charred patch of
ground where may have stood one of the huts
which my lord Grey had burned in his war with
the Geraldines. Low hills, shaggy with dwarf
trees, skirted the road at a distance of a mile or
two, and held the morasses, as it were, in a cup.
I had noted that for the last hour the little
streams had taken the same direction as the
f Written down by Gervase Luttrell, soldier of fortune, during a convalescence
after wounds received in the Low Countries. The manuscript was given by
him to a fellow-campaigner, Neill Macintyre of Glenbreac, in Argyll, among
whose family papers it may still be read.
38 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
track, so I looked presently to reach a river of
some magnitude. Sure enough, as I came over
a ridge I perceived a broad glen below me filled
with a wood of oaks and hollies, and from some-
where in the thicket came the roar of swollen
That morn I had set out from the town of
Youghal to seek my Captain. A month before I
had been appointed lieutenant to Captain Raleigh's
foot-band, at the noble wage of two shillings a
day. I had come hungry from the wars in the
Low Countries, where under Sir John Norn's I
had for long been maintaining the cause of the
Reformed religion and His Highness of Orange.
The chance of Irish service offered me through
the graces of my cousin at Court, my lady
Dawtrey, was not to be scoffed at by a poor
soldier. I had heard of the country as an
excellent school of arms, where a man might win
skill in his trade, albeit there was small hope of
winning riches. Furthermore, I had a notion to
serve under Captain Raleigh, the fame of whom
was beginning to reach the ears even of us lean
waiters upon Fortune. He was but a year or two
THE ROAD OF THE SUNSET. 39
my elder, and already had fought campaigns in
France and Flanders ; and had lately captained
a ship with Humphrey Gilbert to fight the
Spaniard. The news of his Irish doings had set
the town ringing. For if Drury and Malby and
my lord Grey had chastised the rebels with whips,
this Raleigh had a taste for scorpions. The tale
of the slaughter at Smerwick was so fierce that
many of the stoutest 'twas said even the Queen
herself thought the thing barbarously done.
For myself, I love a fierce man who wars with his
whole heart, and 'twas this whim of mine, as
likewise my poverty, which had set me spurring
this May morning to join my Captain.
I had scarce entered the shade of the oaks,
when a man, running blindly down the steep, all
but charged into my stirrups. He started back
and would have fled, but I laid hold on his long
hair and held it firm. He was a lath of a man,
with famine burning in his eye-sockets, and in
my hands was no stronger than a straw.
" Where away so hastily, my lad ? ' I said.
But the creature shook his head ; he knew not
the English tongue.
4 o SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
Then I gripped him by his ear.
" If this is treason," says I, " you will pay
dear for it. Has Captain Raleigh passed this
way ? '
The name was familiar, for he nodded his head.
" Rol-lee, Rol-lee," he repeated, and pointed down
" Good," says I ; " then here's a girdle-cake
for your news." I tossed him food from my
wallet, and left him squatted in the track, tearing
it like a famished wolf.
Presently I saw ahead of me in the oak glade
a little company of horsemen, and hailed them.
They stopped as one man and wheeled, and the
leader of them rode forward to greet me. This
was the first time I had clapped eyes upon the
great Walter Raleigh, destined ere long to be the
most shining figure in Europe. He was a stalwart
man, with a very proud carriage of the head,
and a cheek browned by moorland wars. Save
for his eyes, there was nothing to mark him out
from other Captains of birth and mettle. But
those eyes I see yet the strange glint of them,
as they looked into the heart of a man. I have
THE ROAD OF THE SUNSET. 41
never seen eyes so fearless and so keen. They
were merry, too, as if, looking through one, he
saw a pleasant landscape beyond. There was fire
in them, the silent fire which glows in the white
heart of the furnace and never sputters into flame.
But above all there was pride, the pride which is
so masterful that it asks for no recognition, which
would condescend on kings and emperors, yea,
on all things save Almighty God. In a flash
I think I had the nature of the man, and his
history has not proved me false. For this Cap-
tain was of so great a soul that he must look
over the heads of other men and do his work
stooping. Judge if a task be best done with a
I think I hated him as his eyes ran me through.
He asked me my name and warrant, nodding
carelessly to my answer. Then he bade his men
drop a bow-shot behind, while he and I rode
ahead, and a frieze-clad kern trotted with us to
show the way.
" A grim land," he said, looking round him.
" Did you see aught of beast or man on your
way from Youghal ? '
42 SIR WALTER RALEIGH,
I told him of the creature whose ear I had
held at the edge of the oak-wood. He narrowed
his eyes till they were like nuts seen through half-
open shells a way he always had when he
" I was warned of trouble," he said to himself.
" Besides, the land was more than usual empty ;
'twas like a graveyard. Do you think the fellow
carried a message ? " he asked.
" If he did, he could not carry it far," I
answered. " He carried too little flesh on his
bones. The thing was as frail as a new-born
I had heard of my Captain as very little com-
passionate. But now his face softened till, but
for his beard, it might have been a handsome
" Ay, that is the curse on't. The innocent
poor folk are starving. You will see them lie
dead on the moss with half-chewed herbs in
their teeth. And all the while the vermin of
Rome grow fat, priests and Spaniards are in
every hold, and the native lords are harsher
oppressors than ever we English were. God
THE ROAD OF THE SUNSET. 43
knows I have never lifted my hand on one of
the poor Irish, but God forget me if I spare
and smite not the leeches that prey upon their
By this time we were at the crest of a little
hill in the forest, and saw below us the track
running to a ford. 'Twas the river I had guessed
the presence of, a swollen and angry current,
with wood and thatch bobbing in its eddies.
Around the ford was a close thicket of young
" We must swim, sir," I said ; " and if you
have any foes in the countryside, it is by that
ford you must look for them."
" True, Mr. Luttrell," he answered, a little
smile playing round his mouth. " 'Tis a fine
tryst for my ill-wishers. The scarecrow you met
would be taking the tidings. There is a certain
Fitz-Edmunds, whom they call in these parts the
Seneschal of Imokelly. Haply he is down among
the hazels. But I grieve to tell you that he is a
cowardly knave, and would not come out to fight
me with fewer than four hundred foot and horse.
Now I do not think such a force could be levied
44 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
within a hundred miles, so I fear we shall not
meet the Seneschal."
" Were it not wise to wait for your troop,
sir ? " I ventured.
" Troop ? " he cried. " Nay, lad, let's draw the
coverts ourselves, and see if we can start an
His eyes suddenly grew light and wild as a
boy's. He spurred his horse and galloped
furiously down the track to the water, while
I followed as best I could, leaving guide and
troop to come on at their pleasure. We slithered
among oak-roots and rasped through bramble
thickets ; my face was slashed by errant boughs,
and many times I had like to have been on my
nose. It seemed like a second's time from the
brow of the hill till the first wash of the stream
took my horse's pasterns.
That mad race was our salvation. There were
watchers by the ford, but we were on them ere
they looked for us. We were stemming the
water before they could close in, and happily
they had small store of arquebuses. Some half-
dozen got before the Captain, and I saw his
THE ROAD OF THE SUNSET. 45
sword flash and the water redden. But I had
little leisure to watch him, for, being second
in the race, I received the larger part of the
freebooters' notice. They clung to my saddle,
and reached long arms for my bridle and the
joints of my corselet. These were no kerns who
assailed me, but foreign fellows with the dark
cheek of Spain and Italy, the same as Alva had
led to the pillage of the Hollanders. There was
also one man, wearing a saffron jerkin over a
cuirass, who sat his horse in the current and
issued orders. I supposed him the Seneschal,
and being very wroth I fired on him with my
pistol. But the swaying and confusion gave me
a poor aim, and the delay gave my assailants a
chance, so that I had almost ended my Irish
wars at the start of them.
I was torn from the saddle and dragged under
the turbid stream, swallowing great draughts of
water and mud. Choking and blinded, I found
my feet at last and got my head above the
current. But then I was in no better case. The
river ran near my armpits, and that and the crush
of men gave me no liberty to use my sword.
46 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
'Twas all a mad mellay of claw and tooth, a game
which two dozen of the scum of Seville will play
better than a lonely gentleman. Meantime I
was aware of Captain Raleigh shaking himself
on the farther bank, and bellowing for his troop
to hasten. He seemed to have forgotten my
case, so I minded him of it by a cry for succour.
The next second he had taken the flood again
like a man possessed.
I heard (there were three trying to pull me
down) a head crack like a nut, and a sob or two
as men choked in the stream. Then a hand
clutched my collar and dragged me over a horse's
hindquarters. " Hold by my middle," said a
voice, " till we find deep water."
I did as I was bid, and but for a pike wound in
my left thigh I came scatheless over the stream,
and found that my horse had already swum to
shore. As I crawled into the saddle again I saw
my Captain, pistol in hand, shouting taunts to
the Irishry who still swarmed in the water.
Then came a yell of dismay, and the insurgents
scattered everywhither, while our troop, whom
they took to be the vanguard of an army, clattered
THE ROAD OF THE SUNSET. 47
down the hill. At this the Captain changed his
shouts into a roar of laughter.
" Saw you ever such a man ? ' he cried.
" There lives not the like of the Seneschal of
Imokelly. He has no more than twenty men to
our one, and lo ! he is running like a hare.
I owe him somewhat for the scratch on your
leg, Mr. Luttrell. Rest assured I will pay it.
He will yet swing beside his yellow -faced
Walloons, for such a cur deserves no gentleman's
After this spirited encounter we rode on to the
city of Cork, where Captain Raleigh was closeted
with my lord Grey of Wilton, while I sat in the
common room of the Castle, with a bandaged leg,
finding much entertainment from the converse of
the officers of the Lord Deputy. Their chief tales
were of this Captain of mine, about whom I was
still in a divided humour. He had saved my
life, 'twas true, but his courtesy was as a bone
cast to a dog, a thing on which he seemed to set
small value. There was ever in his eye that
look of seeing me as smaller than God made me
and I deemed myself. And yet at other times
48 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
there flowed from him a merriment and a good
fellowship which drew me to the man as he were
my own brother.
In five days' time I was bidden attend my
Captain on a journey to the West. We took
fifty men of our foot-band, for 'twas a mission
of espionage and enquiry, in which we might
fight or treat according to the humour of the
rebels. Never have I seen a more sad and miry
land. Two days we rode up the vale of a marshy
stream, avoiding the morasses by endangering our
necks on a rocky hillside. 'Twas the forefront
of Spring, when in my native shire of Somerset
the meads are bright with cuckoo-buds and cow-
slips, and every coppice is sweet with violets.
But here there was nothing but a brown desert,
where nesting moor-birds wailed dismally like the
spirits of the lost. There were few inhabitants,
and the huts of such as we saw were worse than
an English sty. Now and then we would
reach a fortalice, and some Irish lord would
descend to greet us, with as like as not a dozen
of our own soldiery quartered on him to devour
his substance. I liked little the shifty wild eyes
THE ROAD OF THE SUNSET. 49
of those Irish ; and as for their speech it was hid
from me, for when they spoke our tongue 'twas
with a mad roundabout twist in it. All the
while the Captain would ride at the head of us,
I at his side, and his mind very far from those
weary deserts. Sometimes he would hum little
snatches of song, and at other times he would be
sunk in a contemplation from which I did not
dare to summon him. As wayside company I
have seen his better, but my liking for him
advanced during those silent stages. There was
in his air something secret and potent and
masterful, and I resolved that if he were not
a man to love he was assuredly a man to follow.
On the third day from Cork we came over
a high ridge of mountain, and descended into a
very lovely vale, which ran out to the Western
Ocean. Here at length were we privileged to
meet the Spring, for the fields and bushes were
green and quickening, and every thicket was a
cage of singing birds. At the foot we came to a
narrow bay of salt water, which the Irish name a
" lough," and riding by its side reached the castle
of Kilmorice. The sentinel who challenged us
50 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
told us that the land was quiet, and that Sir
Thomas Astley had gone west to treat with
the Chiefs of Desmond.
Indoors we found but one officer of the guard,
the others having gone west with Sir Thomas.
But in the great stone hall was seated a slim
young man, who at the sight of us cried out and
ran forward. I have rarely seen a face so
transfigured as was my Captain's. The high and
half-scornful demeanour vanished like ice in thaw.
He clasped the young man in his arms and kissed
him on both cheeks. " The sight of thee, old
friend," he cried, " were worth a century of
Irish journeys ! '
The young man, I heard, was Master Edmund
Spenser, a clerk of Cambridge, and chief secretary
to my lord Grey of Wilton. He had a pale face
and great brown eyes, which, in contrast with
the alert gaze of a soldier, seemed drowsy and
dreamy. He was most courteous in his conduct,
offering us all manner of refreshment, and hold-
ing my Captain's hand as if he feared to lose him.
Now I had been but a week in Captain Raleigh's
service, but such was his power that his manifest
THE ROAD OF THE SUNSET. 51
love of Master Spenser provoked me to an
extreme jealousy. I would have given my soul
to have had my Captain's face glow thus at the
sight of me.
As we sat in the hall after meat, with the
rumour of the sea around us, Master Spenser fell
into a doleful mood. He lamented the sorrows
of the Irish land, and the sad barbarities of war.
Likewise he reproached his friend for his violence.
The sack of Smerwick, of which he had been
witness, still burned in his brain. " 'Twas not
war, Walter," he cried ; " 'twas a naked shambles.
What profits our knightlihood if at the touch
of wrath we become ravening beasts ? '
My Captain replied very gently : " Nay,
Edmund, I have no shame of Smerwick in my
soul. Death, violent death, is always a harsh
sight ; but if there be justice in it, it may take
on the fairness of duty done. When I think of
Smerwick I think of the bloodier shambles to
which the men who died there had aforetime
condemned the innocent."
" But they died unarmed and in cold blood,"
said Master Spenser.
52 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
" So does the murderer on the gallows. And
murderers and gallows-birds they were, every
man of them. I blame my lord Grey for one
thing only. He held the officers to ransom in-
stead of sending them the way of their men.
Mind you, they held no commission. They
came out of the Pope's prisons and the darkest
holes of Spain to make war without cause in
this wretched land. That foul priest, Nicholas
Saunders, was their fugleman ; and their leaders
were miscreants whom Europe had long ago cast
forth. What treatment, think you, did they
mete out to the English ships they took ships
out of my own Devon ? What pity had they
on the prisoners at Dingle ? Have you heard
how they used Youghal when they took the
town, and slit every child's nose, and gouged out
women's eyes, and slew every male thing ? There
is a long tally to count, and that morn at Smer-
wick went but a little way to the reckoning.
When the Pope's vermin creep out of their dark
haunts there is but one way to serve them. Let
God's good light into their souls, though it be
by steel and bullet."
THE ROAD OF THE SUNSET. 53
Captain Raleigh's face had turned grim as
death, and Master Spenser seemed to shrink from
him. He saw the movement, and, stretching
his arm, clasped his friend's hand.
" You think me a fiery Protestant, Ned ? But
indeed I have cause and good reason. Did I not
watch all through the night of Saint Bartholo-
mew, when Queen Catherine and her Guises
slaughtered those of the Reformed faith ? That
night I saw the gutters of Paris run with the
noblest blood of France. I saw priests swollen
with the lusts of hell urging on the spawn of
the kennels to their accursed work, and crying
the meek name of Christ as their warrant. I
saw the shadow of an uplifted Cross lie athwart
those scenes of death. And I swore by the
living God that I, Walter Raleigh, should do
what in me lay to root out of the earth this evil
thing called Rome. The Pope is my foe, and
after him his son of Spain, and till my right arm
wither I shall strike at the cruel mummery of
Rome and the blind tyranny of the Spaniard."
Master Spenser shook his head. " You have
the fury in your bones," he said. " I mind when
54 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
first I knew you, you told a tale of your mother's
about a woman who suffered for her faith at
Exeter Castle in Queen Mary's days, and you
could scarce speak for tears. But, Walter, I
would not reprove you for your religion. Heaven
be my witness, that I love a man who will
strike for his faith. But if you war against hor-
rid cruelty and arrogance, I would have you
war with a Christian reasonableness, not forget-
ting the ensample of the great Captain of our
I had seen my master in many moods, but
now I saw him in the strangest of all. There
came into his face a gravity and a weight of
reflection, the extreme opposite of his usual
pride or his boyish merriment. 'Twas the
face of one who thinks high thoughts and sees
"I would remember," he said, "our great
Ensample ; but I conceive that if our Master be
the Prince of Peace, He is no less the God of
Battles. We of England, as I read the times,
stand at the turn of our destiny. There is about
us a black old world of ignorance and terror,
THE ROAD OF THE SUNSET. 55
where men's souls are enslaved to priests and
their bodies to tyrants. We English stand for
freedom and God's sunlight, and there can be
no truce between us and the enemy. I take my
motto from Holy Scripture : c We wrestle not
against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness
of this world ' ! "
But Master Spenser still shook his head in
" Nay, lad," said Raleigh, " I do not ask you
to follow me. You are a poet, who sees a rosy
world of his own creating, and by his skill makes
of this drab earth in time something akin to his
fancy. I am the plain man, who must dig and
delve and make crooked things straight. In the
end," he said, laughing in his subtle way, " we
may reach the same goal, and by God's grace
I may win some of the happiness of the poet."
That day, as it chanced, was the last I was
to spend at ease for many months, since next
morn we were summoned northward to the wars.
Of my wounds and captivity I shall tell later,
as also of my Captain's notable gallantry and
56 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
excellent generalship. But on this afternoon I
had, I think, a clearer sight of his great heart
than I was ever to get thereafter. I had begun
with hate, and hitherto I had swayed between
admiration and dislike. I had seen him as a
mad boy, as a proud courtier, and as a sage states-
man. Now I was to see him as a friend, and
there was nothing under the vault of heaven
more entrancing than the friendship of Walter
It had rained at midday, but in the evening the
sky cleared, and my Captain bade me accompany
him abroad to take the air, while Master Spenser
sat indoors at his despatches. We ascended a
rough hillside to a kind of table-land, and walked
westward to where a great cliff broke down to
the sea. 'Twas a bright evening, with fresh,
clear airs blowing, and the whole sky ablaze with
gold and crimson. He linked his arm in mine
as we walked on the turf, with the sunset in our
eyes, and he discoursed to me of my youth and
There are hours which are landmarks in a
man's course, and which, in the retrospect, stand
THE ROAD OF THE SUNSET. 57
out like shining hilltops above the desert of his
common occupations. Such was this hour to
me ; for it gave me the friendship of the greatest
man I ever knew, and likewise a new purpose
in life. Captain Raleigh talked little, but there
flowed from the man that influence which is
more persuasive than any words. The mere grasp
of his arm was a power to convert a multitude.
By and by we stood on the sea-cliff, looking
over a golden sea, with a dying sun making
a path of crimson across the waters.
" I spoke of warring with Spain," said he,
" but 'tis not in Europe that we will vanquish
her. Graft this on your mind, Gervase, lad:
the battlefront of our faith is gone from the
I am dull of understanding, and asked
" Whither ? "
" To the New World," he said. " The wars
to come will be fought in the West. It is there
that we of England can wreck King Philip and
checkmate the Pope. Man, man, can you not
see ? We must have an Indies of our own : a
New World to set against theirs. We must
58 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
have wealth like Spain's, and a land to try the
mettle of our youth. Give me that, and Europe
is less to me than a pinch of dust."
He walked a few paces by himself to the
extreme edge of the cliffs, and I waited behind,
perceiving that he desired solitude. There he
stood for maybe half an hour, watching the sun
sink lower in the great ocean. There was a
golden light on his hair and beard, and his figure
on that headland was like some god of old
romance. Then he turned to me, and in the
twilight I could see that his eyes were once again
light and wild, like a boy's.
" We are fools, Gervase, fools ! ' he cried.
" Why do we abide in this dull land, making war
on peasants, when there is the sea, the sea ? We
are no landsmen, we English. We fight best on
the water. ... I have tried both warfares, and
give me the salt air and the bellying of full sails,
and the crash of timber and the clink of clean
steel ! A plague on a soldier's duties ! If
Brother Humphrey and his tall ships were in
the bay there, I think I would cast duty to
the winds. Get the West into your heart
THE ROAD OF THE SUNSET. 59
and blood, lad. 'Tis the goal of all English
Then he drew his sword, and statelily saluted
the dying sun.
" Addio? he cried. " Another day we will
follow your path, old friend."
By this time the dusk was falling grey. His
face had grown stern again, as he turned to take
" Let us return for a little longer to our moor-
land wars," he said.
" To the heart of youth the world is a highwayside.
Passing for ever, he fares ; and on either hand,
Deep in the gardens golden pavilions hide,
Nestle in orchard bloom, and far on the level land
Call him with lighted lamp in the eventide."
R. L. STEVENSON.
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. . . J7DMUND SPENSER, my friend and
master, has made a sweet tale of those
whom he calls Belphoebe and Timias, by which
names he signifies the Queen's excellent majesty
and her knight, Walter Raleigh. The tale I now
tell concerns both high personages at a great
moment. Its stage is a greensward and a palace ;
the other players are the maids and gentlemen of
Belphoebe's court ; and the scenes are moved by
the Loves and Destinies.
On Midsummer Day of the year 1587 the
Court lay at Ashridge, the great house by Berk-
hampstead, in the shire of Hertford. Thither I
came in the train of my lord Burghley, for he
* From the papers of Sir Gabriel Bretton, poet, playwright, and Knight of
the Shire for Sussex. Sir Gabriel also left an MS. play on the subject, en-
titled Gloriana, or The Courtier UnmasKd.
62 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
needed a scholar by his side, being himself un-
handy with the pen. Her Majesty the Queen
Gloriana, as the wits named her, had ridden from
Windsor, and was busy with her maids in the
ordering of a Midsummer masque. This noble
lady had aforetime been gracious in her notice of
me, and the last summer, in her progress through
my own shire of Sussex, I had been favoured
to lead the revels with her at Battle. I looked
now for some share in the sunshine of her regard,
but found that a greater had forestalled me. For
with the Court was Sir Walter Raleigh, whose
light had dimmed my lord Leicester's, and for
the moment shone brightest in the sky of fashion.
Some years before he had returned from the Irish
wars, and had been given great lands and offices,
so that his state far outran the modesty of a
private gentleman. There was none so high, not
even my lord Burghley, who did not seek his
favour. He had sent forth fleets to the Indies,
and had created a new England in the West,
which he named Virginia in his mistress's praise.
Likewise in Ireland he played the part of mer-
chant adventurer, and had made of his estates an
BELPHOEBE'S SMILE. 63
English plantation. I liked the man little, but
I was overborne by his magnificence. 'Twas not
riches or power alone, but poetry and learning
that he sought. He was the friend of all
scholars, and in the Mermaid Tavern in Bread
Street held symposia, where all who loved the
Muses found fair fellowship. To his lodgings by
the river in the palace of the Lord Bishop of
Durham trooped the wits of England. Once and
a-gain I had been privileged to join them, and
found sage divines side by side with playwrights,
and all held captive by their host's address. Two
years before, indeed, I had supped with him, and
listened till cock-crow while he discussed divine
philosophy with the lamented Sir Philip Sidney
and an Italian, by name Giordano Bruno, who
was little admired by the devout. As I say, I
liked him not, but all men love to watch the
transit of a bright star. So I watched from my
humble coign, and was not ashamed to find my
My little masque 'twas a thing about Flora
and the Hours was graciously accepted by the
Queen, who said 'twould do as well as another
64 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
for her maids to show their pretty ankles in.
But as I walked in the herb garden I fell in with
Sir Walter, whose memory held my face. Said
he, " Your plaything lacks salt, Sir Gabriel. 'Tis
dainty as a madrigal, but sugar cloys. Your
nymphs are but silken wenches, and no daughters
of Themis and the king of gods."
His manner ruffled me, and I answered that a
masque was in essence a silken thing. " Would
you have me set a dance of Amazons ? ' I
" Nay, little poet," he said, pinching my ear
in his mocking fashion. " But a thing may be
fine and yet hard as adamant. The slim goddess
may wield the lightnings. Regard my blade,"
he says, letting his sword slip half out of its
sheath. " It bends like whipcord, it sings like a
lute, and yet 'twill split a skull if rightly wielded.
And this arm of mine is no branch of oak, but I
wager 'twould keep its own against the lustiest
smith's. There, Sir Gabriel, I give you a theme
for a sonnet. You may call it ' Strength not in
Bulk but in Spirit,' and sing it to an Italian air."
We strolled past the sundial and out of the
BELPHOEBE'S SMILE. 65
yew portal, while I fumed with wrath at the
man's presumption. 'Twas the truth that stung
me ; for I knew in my heart that my Hours were
but silk and cambrick, things neither divine nor
human. Now from so high a wit as Raleigh I
would have taken reproof gladly, had his air been
otherwise. But he treated my craft as it had
been a child's whim. The next moment, indeed,
he had forgotten that he had spoken, and was
twitching the lilies' heads with his ivory wand
and humming a little tune. I looked sideways
at him as we walked, and marked the insolent
grace of his form and the noble poise of his head.
He walked with the freest carriage I have ever
seen in man, as if he were indeed lord of life and
the world his humble minister.
On the pleasaunce we found Her Majesty with
her maids and a dozen gentlemen of the Court,
seated in a green spot shaded by beeches. The
Queen was working embroidery, and capping
verses with young Master Trefusis, who lay at
her feet. As we neared, she cried out to me
and bade us join the circle. I awaited by the
edge of the group, but Sir Walter sate himself
66 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
by the Queen's side next to a tall fair maid, Mis-
tress Elizabeth Throckmorton, who welcomed
him shyly with a smile. Gloriana noted the
greeting, and frowned.
" We speak of love, my Raleigh," she said,
with an acid in her voice. " Here are we all
equipped for a pastoral, singing like shepherdesses
of the Golden Age. Master Trefusis has been in-
diting a doleful ballad to my Bess's eyebrows. See
if you can better it. Speak it, Master Trefusis."
The boy blushed hotly. " An your Majesty
please, 'twas not my own. 'Twas a song of Kit
Marlowe's that he called ' The Passionate Shep-
herd to his Love.' If it be your will, I will
He declaimed in a dulcet voice a pretty poem
in which a shepherd bribes his lady with the joys
of a country life. The maids clapped their hands.
" Better it, Sir Walter," said the Queen.
" Nay, Madam, give me a minute's grace, and
I will write the lady's answer," he said.
He plucked forth his tablets and wrote for a
little while. Gloriana's hands were busy with
BELPHOEBE'S SMILE. 67
" What a housewife I am ! ' she cried. " I
have not wrought so hard since as a child, in
this very place, I made baby clothes for Mary,
my royal sister. Some day I will show them to
you. Delicate work, I vow, and as quaint a bribe
as sisterly fear ever devised for sisterly whimsies.
Ay de mi! The gift and its cause alike came to
little. How now, Sir Walter ? Is your response
complete ? '
Raleigh lifted his head, and looking now at
the Queen and now at Mistress Throckmorton,
read his verses :
" If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy Love.
But Time drives flocks from field to fold ;
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold ;
And Philomel becometh dumb ;
The rest complains of cares to come.
The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward Winter reckoning yields :
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.
Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies,
68 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
Soon break, soon wither soon forgotten,
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.
Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy Love.
But could youth last, and love still breed,
Had joys no date, nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy Love."
They were delicate verses, as far beyond the
skill of us common bards as Sir Walter's magni-
ficence was beyond our modesty. I think, if
Apollo had given me so great a gift, I would
have been content to forswear Courts for ever
and seek a hermitage.
Gloriana laughed loud. " A shrewd retort,
i' faith ! Our Raleigh is but a laggard lover.
Had he been a maid, there would have been
broken hearts among the men. How now,
Bess ? ' she said, turning to Mistress Throck-
morton. " Does Sir Walter interpret aright the
hearts of us virgins ? '
The maid looked up, blushing. " Nay,
Madam, an it please you, I think he would
BELPHOEBE'S SMILE. 69
make us too crafty. He forgets that love is
blind and laughs at precepts."
" Ay, wench, you are in the right of it. 'Tis
the way of men. They call us coy and cold,
but 'tis they who are the pedlars and hucksters
of love. 'Tis we women alone who will aban-
don all to the God and count no consequences."
Sir Walter said nothing, but a subtle smile
lurked in the corners of his mouth. He looked
at the Queen, and she met his eyes squarely, but
not for long. Soon she dropped her gaze, and,
if I be not blind, there was no less than a blush
on her august cheek. I think her mind had
flown to my lord Leicester and others whom
she had used ill.
Presently, with many bowings and excuses,
Master Askew appeared, the master of the
pageant that was to be given at sundown, and
begged for the attention of his players. The
Queen shooed them away like a flock of geese.
" Get you to your mumming, children," she
cried ; " Sir Walter and I have matters of high
statecraft to discourse on. Get you gone, I say."
I would have departed with the others, but
70 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
she motioned me imperiously to bide. " Wait
with us, Sir Poet. I would have you stay, for
Sir Walter and I are prone to quarrel, and need
I think she had detected my dislike of Raleigh,
and desired me to remain that my presence might
humble him. For as soon as we were alone she
began to rate him furiously. There was that in
our lady Gloriana's colour and mien which in
her anger made her a very Fury of wrath.
" So ho, my fair Sir Walter," she says, " you
are the coy Sir Galahad in your verse, but I
catch you forever making eyes at Bess Throck-
Raleigh had arisen and was standing by a beech
trunk, his cape of purple Cyprus velvet hanging
low on his arm.
" Nay, Madam," he said ; " you wrong me. I
have remarked the lady that she is kind and fair,
but I have eyes for no woman but the Queen of
" Idle words," said Gloriana scornfully. " You
swear your devotion, but a pretty wench breaks
all your vows. 'Tis the way of mankind, from
BELPHOEBE'S SMILE. 71
Kings and Emperors to the last lout of a country
boy I have plucked out of Devon mud and made
a man o'. Think you a mother loves to see her
brood ensnared by the wiles of other females ?
There never yet was woman who hated not in
her heart her son's wife. Think you I am so
free from the common emotions of my sex that
I can suffer gladly to see my cavaliers, vowed for
service to me alone, dancing like apes in the train
of misses whose mothers but yesterday bound
up their hair ? '
Raleigh had narrowed his eyes to slits, and was
listening gravely. Had he smiled, I think his
life would have paid for his folly, but he was
ever one to know to a nicety the limits of daring.
I stood apart, most grievously ill at ease, wish-
ing that Her Majesty would bid me join the
" Speak, you wooden doll ! " cried the Queen,
her cheek flaming scarlet.
"What shall I say, Madam?" Sir Walter
answered in a low, soft voice. " Your Majesty's
care of your servants is more tender than any
mother's, yet we look not to you as a mother.
72 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
You are the greatest of earthly Queens, yet we
look not up to you as Queen. For your Majesty
is above all things woman, and on woman a man
must look squarely, neither up nor down. In
the Kingdom of Hearts the worshipper and the
worshipped are on level ground."
There was a bold speech for you ! He spoke
with such a gentle and grave assurance that the
Queen's eyes dropped. 'Twas but for a moment.
She fired again, and cried out in a voice harsh
as a man's : " By Harry's soul, you Devon sprigs
have more conceit than any Spaniard ! You are
likewise heretics, and would proclaim the Queen
of England mere woman, against the teaching of
his Grace of Canterbury and his Right Reverence
of London. Hoity toity ! Some of you will
cool your heels in the Tower for this." But she
laughed all the while, and tapped her little feet
on the greensward, so that her needles and
embroidery spilled on the lawn.
Presently she looked up at Raleigh, archly as
a maid in her teens looks on a lover. And this
was Gloriana, who had left her teens those thirty
years and more. I dare not say that she was
BELPHOEBE'S SMILE. 73
old. There are women and men likewise of
so great a zest for life that the body seems to
keep pace with the spirit. Certain the Queen
of England had the power at moments to look
as young and fair as the ageless Queen of Love.
'Twas when the spirit failed her that her cheeks
pinched, her brow lined, and her eye grew dull.
" Is there man bold enough," she asked in a
honeyed voice, " to see behind the Queen to the
woman ? You lack not courage, Sir Walter."
'Twas a strange scene, and one I would have
given a thousand crowns to be quit of. I think
that both must have forgotten my presence. For
if ever there was wooing in a tone, 'twas in the
Queen's. The flush of youth sat on her cheek,
and her eyes sparkled like a shallow in Spring.
One delicate hand played with an Italian grey-
hound crouched at her feet, the other tapped
restlessly on her knees. She was looking at Sir
Walter from under lowered lids.
He knelt before her and kissed her hand.
" I speak," he said, " what all men know.
Your Majesty has long held the hearts of your
cavaliers in the hollow of this little hand. To
74 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
me you are neither Queen nor mother, but
goddess, the lady of love and dawn. You have
but one rival in my heart."
" A rival ! ' The words were hissed between
her teeth. The hand was snatched away and the
eyelids opened, like a curtain drawn from a
window to reveal without a storm of lightnings.
But Sir Walter looked up unmoved.
" Ay, Madam, and that rival is your own sur-
passing greatness. For if you are lady to love,
you are goddess to serve. 'Twas you who gave
to us all our warrant of chivalry and sent us out on
the King's Path. We cannot draw back even at
your bidding. We have your commands to do
this and do that for your realm of England ; and
seeing that you are England, 'tis for you we labour.
Think it not unkind that the love of your servants
is merged in worship. 'Tis but the deeper for
that, though it lack common expression."
The Queen spoke hoarsely. " Your words are
riddles, sir, like a priest's," she said.
Raleigh stood up, so that he towered over her
slim sitting form.
" Not riddles but parables. There are some
BELPHOEBE'S SMILE. 75
who are cast for so high a destiny that they must
forswear homely joys. 'Tis not that they lack
the plain affections, but that they possess the
greater duties. Such is the Queen of England,
who fights God's battles against an armed world.
Such in a little way is her lowly servant, Walter
Raleigh, who rights 'neath her banner. To
him she is goddess, queen, and mistress, but,
being Queen, her royalty demands service before
Gloriana looked up at last.
" Then for us poor Queens there is no love,"
she said, and her voice was thick as if she spoke
" Nor for us poor knights," said he. " You
are playing with the world's fates, Madam. For
you there is the love of God and of your people
and of the unborn generations that will arise in
your England and call you blessed. But there is
no room for common love. You are beyond
man's reach, and you have set your knights on
the same stony steeps of honour."
Once again fell a silence.
Then, without lifting her head, the Queen
76 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
spoke. " I thank you, my lord. You have
spoken honestly and bravely, as a true man
should. I pray you to go now and bid my
maids attend me."
I noted that she called him " my lord." I
think her mind was harking back to a day when
she and my lord Leicester had spoken of the
same matter. We of the Court had guessed often
at the conclusion, but now I learnt the truth ;
save that I think that the words now spoken by
Raleigh had then been in the Queen's mouth.
I spent the day in a deep perplexity ; and late
in the afternoon sought out Sir Walter Raleigh
when he was walking on the great terrace above
the fish-ponds. I reminded him of the morning,
and offered myself for the duello.
" I place my life in your hand," said I. " God
knows I have never loved you, but 1 am man
enough to appraise your manhood. This morn
I was the unwilling spectator at a scene which
deeply concerns my mistress's honour and your
own. 'Tis for you to say whether one who
has seen what I have seen can be suffered to
BELPHOEBE'S SMILE. 77
live. I take the chance of death at your
I had looked for his acceptance, or perchance
some cold and scornful rejoinder which would have
goaded me to insult. Instead, he laid both hands
on my shoulders, and there were tears in his eyes.
" Kill you, Sir Gabriel ! By my faith, 'twould
be to make the world too poor. You ask me to
do murder upon one whose sole offence is that
he has over nice a sense of honour. Fight you,
forsooth ! I would liefer embrace you."
He twined his arm in mine and drew me beyond
the terrace into the hollows of the great park.
When a man is strung up to a desperate resolve
he is in no mood for pleasantry, and I would
have stayed his going had I not seen that in his
face which constrained me. 'Twas the face of
one who had passed through a deeper perplexity
than mine, and was still in the throes of it. The
high light air, the pride, the brave deportment,
had gone, and in their place left a much-vexed,
deep-thinking man. The courtier was un-
Down in a thicket of green bracken a herd of
78 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
deer was feeding. The scene after twenty years
stands as clear in my mind as if it had been
yesterday. There came a faint noise of lutes
and viols from the terrace, where the mummers
were ordering the pageant. A country wench in
a yellow gown was singing as she took the track
to Berkhampstead. Up in the beechen shade
cushats were crooning, and a low hum of bees
filled the sweet-scented air. 'Twas a very Arcadia
of summer loveliness, and there in the midst of
it stood we two perplexed mortals, wrinkling our
brows at Fate.
Raleigh flung himself on the greensward and
plucked idly at a flower.
" I wish to Heaven I had a pipe of tobacco,"
he said. " The herb is a sovran cure for ill
temper. You have heard and seen, Sir Gabriel.
Perchance you now know somewhat of the trials
of us poor favourites of Fortune. There lives
no greater soul under God than this Queen of
ours, but she is very woman, and her woman-
hood is the burden which beats down the wings
of her greatness. She has created such a Round
Table as King Arthur never dreamed of, but she
BELPHOEBE'S SMILE. 79
is reluctant to send out her knights on their
I had nought to say, but could only watch the
moody face of this splendid gentleman, who thus
confessed his heart.
" All the world envies me," he went on. " I
have been honoured with Her Majesty's special
favour. I have been given estates and high
offices. My substance is great, and my degree and
honour of the noblest. But what profits it, man ?
I am still a captive, in fetters of fine silk and pure
gold. By my faith, a tarry sailor in a Bristol
barque has more of a man's task than mine."
" You have the ordering of high places of
state," I ventured.
" Places of state ! ' he laughed. " Ay, old
Burghley comes with his ferret face and begs my
consideration. But what of that ? I am as little
of a statesman as Her Majesty's favourite lady. I
open the way to her presence. Perchance my
advice is asked, but my words weigh nothing.
The Queen loves my blunt speech, but she
hearkens only to her tame fox, and to herself."
He got to his feet and strode up and down.
8o SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
" Mark you, Sir Gabriel, I have but the one
passion, to make this good England the sun
of all the world. I see her enemies clustering
around as thick as locusts. I see such a breed
of men within our shores as would, if unchained,
sweep land and sea clear of our ill-wishers. I
see a great-hearted and most wise lady, who loves
her people well, but, womanlike, will tarry, and
in her tenderness to youth will clip its wings.
She suffers me to send my expeditions to the
Indies, but laughs at them as if they were a
merry whim. For myself, she forbids me to
leave these shores, and well I know that where
no leader is there will be no glory. I strut
peacock-like about the Court, petted, flattered,
envied ; but before God I would rather have a
tall ship and a Devon crew, and be risking my
all on a desperate enterprise. A Court is nothing
but a green-sickness for a man's spirit."
Then he approached me and laid his hands
again on my shoulders.
" Pardon me, fair friend, if I spoke slightingly
of that life to which you are vowed. There are
honest men whose light shines best in such a
BELPHOEBE'S SMILE. 81
scene of leisure and peace. Would that Edmund
Spenser would join you in this world of gardens
and indite his divine measures in your good
company ! But for me, I am of another fibre.
A brown moor-cock is ill at ease among the doves
and peacocks of a pleasaunce. I have no gift
for Courts. I like little their soft beds, and rich
dress and dainty foods. I would rather the smell
of salt than the scent of musk. Nay, I had rather
the sour Irish mosses than this Arcady. For I
am a man who must be up and doing or he stifles.
I know the gifts God has given me. I can lead
rough fellows up to the cannon's mouth ; and I
think I have a native genius for seacraft. I will
search you out the riches of strange lands, for the
love of them burns in me. But for this philander-
ing and dancing and versifying, my soul loathes it !
Good my friend, I speak to you honestly as to
a true man. Some day the silken cords will be
cut, and the world will mark the fall of Raleigh.
But haply Raleigh will be gone on a better
His voice stopped suddenly, and the grave
passion vanished from his face. In its stead came
82 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
the look of railing gallantry which was his Court
manner. I glanced behind and saw the cause.
A very pretty lady came tripping over the
" Sweet sirs," she lisped, " I am bidden fetch
you. Master Askew hath need of you. The
Masque begins in another hour, and the advice
of Sir Gabriel is sought on certain high matters.
Master Askew would consult, too, with Sir
Walter touching his raiment. It is thought the
white taffeta sown with black pearls would be
fitting garb for the King of the Shades. . .
MANOA THE GOLDEN.
" O watchman, leaning from the mast,
What of the night ? The shadows flee,
The stars grow pale, the storm is past,
A blood-red sunrise stains the sea.
At length, at length, O desperate wills,
Luck takes the tiller and foul tides turn ;
Superb amid majestic hills
The domes of Eldorado burn."
The Ship of Fools.
: ;'f SNapl
MANOA THE GOLDEN.*
. . . TV/TY head was buzzing like a spinning-
top, and it seemed that scalding water
fell on me so that I could scarce draw breath.
Also there was an orange-tawny bird, with a blue
beak and a face like the parson of Budleigh, that
kept cocking a wicked eye on me and flapping
his wings. I besought Amias Thyn to kill the
fowl, but he answered that 'twas only a fancy
of my fever. Upon that I up and fetched Amias
a blow on the face, and myself the next moment
toppled to the earth. For certain I was very
near my end. The poison from the arrow-head
had wrought desperately in my blood, and I was
fallen into the last fever of the brain.
* Nathan Stubbs, captain of the ship Good Venture, told this tale to Master
Samuel Purchas, who omitted it for obvious reasons from his famous Pilgrimes.
Nathan's narrative, however, exists in MS. in a very difficult handwriting, and
a copy is in the library of an Oxford college.
84 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
I was now five months out of England, weary
months in truth for body and soul. Since the
February morn when we sailed from Plymouth,
we had traversed many thousand leagues of ocean,
made capture of ships, and laid hands on the new-
built Spanish city of Saint Joseph in the isle of
Trinidad. For guide we had Captain Jacob
Whiddon, an old voyager in these parts, and for
fellow - adventurers young bloods from every
manor in the West, and likewise some tough and
salted sea-captains to correct the yeast of youth.
Our Admiral was that famous knight Walter
Raleigh, the Captain of Her Majesty's Guard,
and the Lieutenant-General of the County of
Cornwall. Aforetime I had known this Sir
Walter, when he was the glory and particular
star of the Court. He was used to come among
us of the sea at every port in the West, and would
sit for hours discussing of our travels. I have
seen him at Falmouth and Plymouth, in rich
robes and chains of gold, seated hard by a tarry
sailorman, as if he had never trod softer floors
than a ship's deck. Hence he was vehemently
beloved by all seafarers, but he had ever a moody
MANOA THE GOLDEN. 85
brow and a dark eye, save when he glowed at
some tale of adventure. We had heard how he
had fallen into disgrace with the Queen, and was
enclosed for long in the Tower of London, and
then banished to his country manor. When the
word went round that he was equipping a fleet
for a venture to the Indies, there was no man
from Southampton to Bristol but burned to sail
with him. I mind well how he came down to
Plymouth Quay to join his ships, with so gay
a step and light an eye you would have thought
him no more than boy. When the crews cheered
him from the bulwarks, he waved his hat and
smiled like a man who has at last come home.
But to my tale. From Trinidad we set out in
a flotilla, for our vessels could not ascend the
river Orinoko, because of the shoals and currents.
The whole company of us had to ship in three
wherries and a barge. As for the Admiral, he
had an old gallego boat cut down so that she
drew but five feet of water, fitted her with banks
of oars, and embarked in her with sixty officers
and gentlemen-volunteers. After that I mind
little save the sickness that racked us in the open
86 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
sea ere we made the mouth of the river, and the
perilous water-ways we laboured through there-
after. There was no room to land, for the woods
came down to the edge as thick as furze and
reached evil claws into the water. The air was
full of fever, and the heat of the sun like gusts
from a baker's oven. We were for ever ground-
ing in shallows, and to shove off had to wade
deep in the stream, in mortal fear of the noisome
toothed serpents called Lagartos that dwell in
such rivers. From ill feeding and unchanged
raiment we became foul and offensive alike to our
fellows and ourselves ; and the incessant toil of
rowing, in which gentle and simple shared alike,
came near to driving us mad. But through it all
the Admiral abated nothing of his courage and
sweet temper. He would urge us on with a
cheerful word and a merry quip, and the weakest
would bend stoutly to the oars if he saw Sir
Walter near him.
Presently we came out of the narrows to the
main stream of the Orinoko, and found the
noblest country mine eyes had ever beheld.
'Twas a great park, full of green grass and high
MANOA THE GOLDEN. 87
groves of trees and a multitude of fruits. The
deer flocked to the water's edge as if they had
been used to a keeper's call. Now 'twas possible
to land, and eat and sleep on solid ground. A
merry wind sprang up behind us and lessened
the toil of rowing, and, having abundant food
and good knowledge of the way, our hearts were
wondrously uplifted. On the seventh day we
saw afar off toward the West a blue line of
mountains and rejoiced, for we knew them for
the husk of El Dorado.
After a fortnight's passage, during which we
saw many curious things, we came to Morequito,
the port of the kingdom of Aromaia, and found
there the King Topiawari, whose nephew had
been foully slain by the Spaniard. He welcomed
us graciously, and gave us bread and wine and all
manner of flesh and fowl ; likewise a quantity
of pine-apples, the princess of all fruits, which
purgeth the fever from a man's blood. As the
King led us about his country we remarked the
rocks streaked with gold, which was no Mar-
quesite, such as appears in other parts of the
Indies, but the true " Mother of Gold " that
SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
is the guide to rich metal below the soil. Also
we found a stone like a sapphire, and the people
had great wealth of spleen-stones, or, as some
name them, emeralds. But especially the King
Topiawari told the Admiral of the City of
Manoa, where the Incas rule, which lieth many
leagues west by south in the high hills. All
round the base of the mountain dwelleth a fierce
tribe, by name the Epimureans, who are in league
with the Inca and keep his marches. They war
with the other Indian peoples, and the King was
earnest with us to join him in a march against
them. But the Admiral considered that we had
too few men for such a venture, and that the
floods of the river which were now beginning
made it impolitic to penetrate further that year
in the direction of Manoa. He therefore re-
solved to return, being satisfied of the great riches
of the country and the friendly disposition of the
people to our mistress the Queen of England.
The Indians marvelled at our clemency and justice,
for by the Admiral's orders no man might take
so much as a potato plant from one of the poor
people without making him satisfaction.
MANOA THE GOLDEN.
'Twas in the last days of June that my troubles
began. The Admiral sent for me and told me
his purpose of return. He said that he desired
more knowledge about the golden parts of Guiana,
and the civil towns and apparelled people of the
Incas, and he desired this knowledge from English
eyes and lips. There was an old Cacique, dwell-
ing in the upper vales of the Caroni, a river of
Aromaia, whose town was but two days' march
from the borders of the Epimureans. He was
willing to guide me to the borders, if haply from
some hill-top I might get sight of the great lake
on which stands the City of Manoa. Then he
would lead me back by a shorter path, so that I
might join the flotilla on its homeward journey.
" You will take with you Amias Thyn," said Sir
Walter, " for I can spare no more English. And
God be with you, Nathan, for I know you a
man of discretion and good heart."
By this time I was somewhat restored in health,
and my eagerness for the errand had almost made
me leap with joy. We departed on a fine sunshine
morning, and journeyed in boats as far as the flow
of the Caroni allowed. But since the flood-time
9 o SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
was beginning the rowers could scarcely win a
stone's throw in an hour, so we put to land, and
travelled on foot beyond the falls of the river,
which are a dozen in number and each as high as
a church tower. Thereafter we reached a country
of short grass and pressed on easily, save that
Amias Thyn, who was no footman, lagged some-
what behind. By the second evening we had
come to the town of the Cacique, and were civilly
lodged in a hut of wood. That night the people
of the place brought us pine-apple wine in stone
jars, and so caroused with us that Amias was like
to have perished of colic.
The next morn we set out with the Cacique
and two Indian guides into the woods which
stretched to the country of the Epimureans.
From the start I knew that the venture was to be
ill-fated, for I saw three crows on a single branch,
and Amias, being giddy from the night's frolic,
shot at one with his musket. The Cacique
warned us that the woods were full of evil men,
who are of a different race from the Indians and
are called, I think, Aroras. They have squat
bodies and sleek black hair, and live on human
MANOA THE GOLDEN. 91
flesh. Also they shoot poisoned arrows, of which
only the Indian soothsayers know the cure. But,
said he, his tribe was at peace with the Aroras,
and if we went discreetly and fast we might win
through without trouble.
All went well till the afternoon of the next day,
when we seemed to be near the edge of the trees,
for in the gaps we could see peaks of mountains.
We had halted for food, when there came a cry
from the guide who led us and a rustling in the
thicket. Presently I saw a dark face among the
leaves, and ere I knew something pierced my
shoulder. I fired my musket at the invisible foe,
and Amias did the like ; and the next second all
was quiet save for the mutterings of the Indians.
But when the Cacique saw my wound he set up
a great lamentation, and cried out that I had taken
a deadly poison. A faintness fell on me, and in a
dream I suffered him to cut away the flesh and
burn the wound with powder. Then I was
dragged between the Indians at a great pace
through the trees until we came to the edge of a
That Cacique was the best Christian it has
92 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
ever been my lot to meet. He bade his men
make a rough hut for me, in which I lay tortured
with pain and yet so weak that I could scarce
move to ease my anguish. He gave me medicine,
but it seemed that he had not the knowledge of
the royal cure. For he bade Amias watch me
close to prevent me doing a mischief in my mad-
ness, and set off to find an Indian soothsayer who
should heal my wound. All this Amias told me
later. . . .
So I come to where my tale began, as I lay
raving in the hut on the border of the Epimureans.
After I smote Amias I lost all knowledge of the
world. In such state I lay for hours, and then
about the first light my mind cleared. The
torture had gone, my wits had returned, but
I felt the life ebbing in my members. I knew
that death was near, and strove to turn my mind
to thoughts of heaven. But all I could see was
the blessed orange-tawny bird with the face of
the parson of Budleigh.
I noted Amias sunk in sleep on the ground,
as weary as a hound after the chase. I wanted
to laugh at the oddity of his red face burrowed
xMANOA THE GOLDEN. 93
into the leaves. Then the screen of boughs
was lifted and I saw the Cacique bending over
me, and with him another. That other was an
old man with a thin white beard and a high
nose ; and I thought him a white heron come to
fight the terrible orange-tawny fowl.
I know not what he did to me, but six hours
later I awoke from deep slumber with the pain
gone and my health restored, save for a singing
in my head like the fall of a weir. There was
Amias smoking a pipe, and the Cacique and the
old soothsayer playing a game on a thing like a
" Ho, there ! " I cried in a thin voice. " God
has raised me up, and His name be praised ! We
have no time to tarry if I am to join the Admiral.
We must be up and off this very day."
The priest came to my side. He was a lean
old man, the gloom of his complexion grown by
age to a fine ivory.
" What came you out for to seek ? ' he asks,
like the Scriptures.
" I am bidden by the Admiral to find the hill
in the land of the Epimureans from which a
94 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
man may see the City of Manoa." I spoke in
Spanish to the Cacique, who turned my words
into the Indian tongue.
The old man shook his head. " I have heard
of you English as a great people of the East,
who worship the one God and are ruled by
a Virgin. You do justly by all men, and rob
not like those of Spain. But why seek you
Manoa ? "
" Why ? ' I cried. " Because of the tales
of it. 'Tis a mystery that fires our blood. I
want to see the princes who smear their bodies
with gum and roll in gold dust, and the city so
great that if a man enters one afternoon 'tis the
evening of the next day ere he comes to the
King's Palace. I would see the golden battle-
ments, and the golden birds that sing by magic,
and the golden flowers that deck the islands.
I mind of a lame Spaniard in Cartagena who
had a pouch full of gold beads that he told me
were the pebbles of the lake shore."
" And if you win there, you English, what
next ? " says the priest.
" For us common folk there will be gold,"
MANOA THE GOLDEN. 95
said I. " I know not the mind of my Admiral,
but 'tis rumoured that he would ally our kingdom
with the Grand Inca, and make so strong a band
against the Spaniard as to drive him forth of
The priest spoke in Indian to the Cacique.
Then he looked first at me and then at Amias
as if he would search our souls.
" My brother has sworn to lead you to the
Hill of Vision," he said. " And it is just that
he should keep troth. But I warn you that ill
may come of it. The Golden City is strong
guarded by the spells of dead kings. I cannot
break them. No stranger from the East will
I answered that I feared no charm, being
strong in the Christian faith ; but he paid little
heed to my words.
" You are feeble," he said, " and 'tis a hard
journey. I have brought you back from the
edge of death. Will you trust me to fortify you
for travel ? '
The Cacique was earnest with me to swallow
the priest's drug ; for without this, he said, we
96 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
should both faint by the way. From a wallet
he took some little packets and mingled two
potions each, for me and Amias. The first was
bitter as wormwood and set my ears drumming
so that I feared deafness. The second put me
into a great ease and contentment, so that I could
have sung aloud for joy. Amias, who was ever
a fool, did indeed sing a tavern ditty about Poll
and Sue, which he fitted to a melancholious
A little later we started, while it was still
forenoon, and travelled up the rocky slope of
the hills. The priest and I rode on mules which
he had brought, while Amias and the Cacique
went on foot. Amias was for ordinary a miser-
able footman, but the potion he had drunk so
filled him with eagerness that he outstepped the
mules. We spoke little, being deep sunk in
peace. All I knew was that we mounted ever
higher, till we saw the land behind us lie flat to
the Orinoko, and in front and on either hand
great swellings of mountain.
I mind the exceeding gladness I felt. 'Twas
like boyhood returned, with no sin to burden the
MANOA THE GOLDEN. 97
conscience and no failure to cloud the spirit.
Whether 'twas the drug or the high air I know
not, but I seemed to be out of the body. We
wound up a track that led to a pass in the hills,
and in the nick of it the sun was setting like an
eye of fire. I made certain that beyond that
pass lay Manoa : indeed the sky had a shimmer
of light as if it had caught the reflection from
acres of gold ; and I cried on the others to
hasten, that we might win up by nightfall. But
the pass was longer than I had judged, and at
the darkness we were forced to camp some way
short of the summit.
I ate little food, and soon fell asleep in deep
weariness. All night long I dreamed of angels
and heavenly mansions, so delectable a dream
that I could have wept at the wakening. 'Twas
a clear dawn, and no man spoke as we saddled
the mules and took our way toward the ridge of
Many times in my life I have been a-quiver
with eagerness, so that my knees loosened under
me, and my heart smote on my ribs. I have felt
thus in a sea-fight before the shots began, and
SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
very notably when I waited on Nell Ottaway's
answer to the declaration of my love. But never
in love or war have I felt so shattering a tremor.
Even the muddy soul of Amias Thyn was kindled
to expectation. Every step, I thought, would
bring me the promised sight, but a ridge inter-
vened, and still another. At last, when I did
not look for it, we had turned a corner and stood
on a ledge gazing on a new country.
I fell off my mule, and with Amias viewed
the prospect on my knees, calling on God to
be merciful to sinful men. For this was what
I saw . . .
Below me the cliffs fell sheer for a mile or
so to a plain of greenest grass where herds of
white cattle grazed. There was a brimming
river winding through the meadows, as I have
seen the Thames wind in the fields by Richmond.
Beyond these pastures were orchards, where it
seemed to me I could see golden fruit hang as
thick as haws on a whitethorn. And beyond
the orchards was a lake, so long that to left and
right its blue waters were lost in haze. On this
lake I saw the white sails of many craft, and on
MANOA THE GOLDEN. 99
its multitude of isles white towers and flowery
But beyond the lake was the sight that bank-
rupted me of breath and sent Amias to his
prayers. For there stood a city so great and
noble that it seemed as if no mortal could have
raised it. 'Twas all of shimmering white like
sea-foam, but the roofs were of naked gold. I
saw the streets run in pleasant lines to a great
palace set on a low hill, which was assuredly the
jewel of so fair a casket. Its golden dome was
like a mirror, in which the clouds showed
themselves and the sun was re-born.
Yet 'twas not the riches and magnificence of
Manoa that melted my heart : 'twas its air of
happy peace. From my hill -top I could see
no inhabitants, though a faint hum of life rose
to my ears. But a kind of glory brooded there
such as the Blessed may hope for in Paradise.
I had forgotten about gold and fame, for the
thing seemed too precious to pollute with mortal
thoughts. 'Twas a realm so far more lovely
and desirable than the greatest empire that
I could scarce believe it to be of this world,
ioo SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
As for Amias he did nothing but weep and
" You see Manoa, my son," said the priests
voice. " If you would see your friends again,
'tis time to depart."
At this I fell into despair. I could not leave
so noble a vision. I besought him to show me
the entrance, though it should cost me years of
travel. Nay, I would gladly have starved slowly
on that ledge of rock so that I could have feasted
my eyes on the City.
" There is no entrance for you," he said.
" The folk of the City are wise, and would keep
free from the wars and sorrows of the world.
They have guarded their land with spells that no
man can break save with their good will. I have
brought you to the sight of it, because I have
heard of the honour of your people. Think
well of it, my son ; 'tis not fitting to mar so fair
a thing for any lust of treasure. Seek your gold
mines elsewhere, for you cannot reach the pure
gold of the City of the Sun."
I asked if no man had entered the place.
" Once," said he, " a man found the key after
MANOA THE GOLDEN. 101
years of toil, but it profited him nothing. He
entered the City and saw its glories, but his soul
was earthy and the sight destroyed his wits. He
was led forth, and travelled back to the Spanish
towns, but he babbled wild things and died in a
frenzy. No man believed his tale. . . . But
see. The Gods warn us. If we would save our
lives, we must depart."
A black thundercloud was gathering round the
heights, and in another minute the storm burst,
almost sweeping us from our ledge. We hastened
to leave, the regret in my soul so choking me
that I had no speech, nor any strength to stay.
But as we went I noted one marvel. For,
whereas the storm was dark around us to the
edge of the cliff, beyond 'twas clear sunlight.
Through the driving sleet I had one last glimpse
of the shining towers of Manoa the Golden . . .
Seven days later, on the bank of the Orinoko,
we met with the Admiral's flotilla. Seven weary
days they proved, so that Amias and I were but
hollow-eyed scarecrows when out of the swamps
we hailed the first boats. We had both fallen
102 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
into a fever, partly from toil and partly from the
regret and wonder of our minds. Indeed 'twas
little I cared what befell me. Ravening beasts
and savage men were as nothing compared with
the ache of loss in my heart.
Sir Walter had me aboard the gallego, and in
presence of his officers and volunteers questioned
me on our adventure. I begged that I might
tell them first to his private ear ; and seeing the
earnestness of my demeanour and the marks of
labour I bore on me, he granted my request. So
that evening, when we had landed on an isle
to pass the night, he took me apart into a woody
place and asked for my tale.
I told him as well as I could of my wound in
the forest, of its cure, and the journey to the gap
of the hills. Then I spoke of Manoa so far as
my poor words could envisage such a marvel.
The Admiral heard me with eager eyes.
" You saw it, my brave Nathan ? But that
is what no Spaniard these fifty years hath done ! "
" Ay, but I saw it from a mountain-top, and
I saw no way to enter."
" Cliffs can be scaled," said he ; " and if there
MANOA THE GOLDEN. 103
be another ingress, it will be found. The great
matter is that the City is there, and can be
viewed in two days' march into the land of the
Epimureans. It needs but a man skilled in
travel to chart the valley, and discover where the
river you speak of leaves it. What the Spaniard
Martinez could do is not beyond the range of
Then he fell to questioning me about small
particulars, being very curious about the islands
in the lake and the great white palace or temple
which commanded the City. He wrote down
in a book what I had to tell him, and made a
chart of the place and the way thereto. He was
warm in his commendation. " When we return,"
he says, "you shall lead the advance, Nathan. As
you were the first to see the City, so you shall
be the first of the English to tread its streets."
" Your pardon, sir," said I, " but these same
streets I will never tread."
And when he asked my meaning, I up and
spoke what was in my heart.
" I am a man of blood and guile," I said,
" whose life has been spent in pursuits the most
io 4 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
conducing to these faults. But all the while I
have a proper notion of virtue, and I would not
sin against God's plain command. That City,
I take it, is as Eden before our father Adam
sinned. I know not whether the folk who dwell
in it be Christians after our meaning ; but of
this I am sure, that in very truth they worship
God. That valley is like Paradise for peace.
The sight of it clouds the senses and makes the
heart sore as a man's heart is sore for the home
of his childhood. For us men of blood to enter
the place would be great sin. I will have no
part in violating so holy a shrine. We go to
offer an alliance to the Grand Inca. But what
need has he of an alliance when God's cherubim
are on his side ? If we fought and won, the gold
and jewels would be our plunder. And the City
would be the quarry of every ruffian from the
four corners of earth. 'Twould be the offence
against the Holy Ghost, and, sinful man though
I be, I will have no hand in it."
The Admiral watched me curiously, and nar-
rowed his eyes as if in thought.
" You say the priest gave you a drug to heal
MANOA THE GOLDEN. 105
your wound. May it not be that the City you
saw was a dream ? "
" Nay, it could not be," said I. " There is
no drug would set a man shivering on a rock
with a storm behind him and the New Jerusalem
at his feet."
"Then, Nathan, 'tis like the lost Atlantis,"
he said musingly. "'Tis a City not of Time
but of Eternity."
He opened his doublet and showed a jewel of
gold which hung by a cord around his neck.*
" That," said he, " is the badge of my quest for
the Golden City. He who gave it me sought
for it all his days, and, like you, saw it but from
a hill-top. I cannot draw back from the search.
But I think that when I go I will go alone."
After that we spoke no more of the business.
I kept my own counsel, and the Admiral gave
out to the others that I had found a certain way
to Manoa, but had been held back from going
further by shortness of time and his express
commands. Amias Thyn, to be sure, told mar-
* See Chapter I.
106 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
vellous tales to his comrades, but he was so
confused in his speech that he had no credence.
Indeed the rumour spread that he had never
ventured beyond the Indian town, but had lain
there for a fortnight incontinently drunk. . . .
" Why, truly, your great enemy is the Spaniard. He is a natural enemy
... by reason of the enmity that is in him against whatsoever is of God. . . .
And the Spaniard is not only our enemy accidentally, but he is providentially
so ; God having in His wisdom disposed it to be, when we made a break with
the Spanish nation long ago."
Oliver Crom-welfs speech to his Second Parliament, September 17, 1659.
. . . T HAVE seen Sir Walter Raleigh but the
two times in my life, and this was the
way of them . . .
One May morning in the year 1596 I rode
into the yard of the Bell Inn at Shorne in
Kent, and bade the potman bring me a tankard
of small ale, for I had broken my fast early.
'Twas a chill morning, with flying showers of
rain, and my horse was mired to the saddle girths.
Presently there entered a seaman with a scarlet
face, as if he had run fast and far, and on his
heels a gentleman, all muddied with travel. The
seaman shouted to the host to know if any
* The story of Sir Adam Bontier, a gentleman adventurer with the fleet of
Essex. Sir Adam, being taken prisoner later by the Spaniards at Cartagena,
told the tale to a Dominican friar, Jordanus, who left the record in monkish
Latin in his monastery of Candelaria in Teneriffe. It was deciphered the
other day by a Spanish geographer, and I have freely adapted it.
io8 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
mariners had been to the tavern that morn ; and
being told no, set off again at a run for the
next alehouse. I could not but observe the
gentleman, a tall man of noble carriage and a
dress too rich for our country byways. He bade
the seaman complete his tale of the taverns and
return to him with a report, while he sate himself
on a bench and, like me, called for ale. He
had an air of weariness and perturbation, but his
eyes were masterful and his mouth had a hint of
humour. Indeed, as he sate himself on the
bench and watched his lieutenant trotting out of
the yard, he laughed outright.
" Your servant, sir," I said. " You are early
He looked at me very pleasantly. " My
friend," said he, " I know not your name, but if
you have any knowledge of the sea, you will
grant that a man must rise early to outwit the
" Why, for the matter of that," I answered,
" I have had some small trouble of my own in
the same quarter. I had much to do with the
manning of certain ships against King Philip's
CADIZ BAR. 109
Armada, and that was a business to whiten a
He nodded approvingly. " Since you have
served your Queen, you will have a fellow-feeling
for the trials of a campaigner. Whew ! I have
the thirst of all the Guianas."
" You are with the fleet at Gravesend ? ' I
" For my sins," said he, " I am by Her Majesty's
command the Rear-Admiral of Her Majesty's
I rose, doffed my hat, and bowed low. For I
knew that I was in the presence of Sir Walter
Raleigh. He nodded and smiled.
" I say ' for my sins,' for my rear-guard should
have been at sea a week ago. Instead of which
my ships rot in the Thames, and I spend my
days hunting mariners through miry lanes. A
thing to try hard a man's Christianity ! But
what do you here?" he asked.
I told my name and designation, adding that I
had fought somewhat in Europe, and was but
three months returned from campaigning in the
Low Countries with Sir Francis Vere,
no SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
" You would rest at home," and his eyebrows
ran upward, " while the Spaniard holds Calais ? "
" Nay, sir," I cried. " I do but wait on my
chance. I am ripe for another venture, but I am
delayed and distracted by those who order affairs.
I have offered my services a dozen times, but I am
but a humble squire and can get no satisfaction."
He reached out a hand for mine.
" You shall fight with us, good sir. Never
fear. And I have that to tell you which will set
an edge on your valour. ... His God hath
called for Sir Francis Drake."
The news took the breath from me. We
were hourly waiting to hear that that grim sea-
captain had sacked Panama and laid hands on all
the Isthmus. I could only look with awe at
Sir Walter's heavy countenance, and stammer
" Where ? " and " When ? "
" A post reached me this morn from the
Queen herself. He lies far off in Porto Bello
beneath some great wave. 'Tis all over now
with the English expedition. It must return
leaderless, and we must strike at the Spaniard
elsewhere. But, mark you, there is no news on
CADIZ BAR. in
earth will so put heart into Rome and Spain.
They feared Frankie as if he were the devil.
Without him they will deem us no better than
masterless men. 'Tis to disperse that dream that
you and I go forth, Sir Adam."
I was so eager that I could scarce muster
words. " You will take me with you, sir ? " I said.
He wrinkled his brows in thought. " Nay,
not with me. We are all seamen, and our task
will be plain seacraft. You are soldier-bred, and
your place is with the land force under my lord
Essex. I will give you a letter to my lord, who
will receive you gladly, for he loves me, and has
an eye for a proper young man. The Lord
High Admiral is by this time at Plymouth, and
with him my fellow in the rear-guard, Lord
Thomas Howard. My lord Essex joins them
there. And when I have writ a letter, 'tis for
you to post thither without loss of an hour.
With a fair wind they may sail any day, and
suffer me to follow when I have gotten in my
The lieutenant entered, redder than before, but
with a gleam of satisfaction in his fiery eye.
ii2 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
" I have laid hands on two, sir," he cried,
" and the guard has 'em on the road to the water.
There is tidings that five more of 'em lie drunk
Sir Walter had written me a letter, using his
own tablets, and ink from a horn fetched by the
host of the tavern. He sealed it with his signet
ring, and gave it into my hands.
" Now, Sir Adam, ride ride for your life !
We shall meet in a week or more."
" Where ? " I asked, for I knew nought of the
destination of the fleet.
" That is a secret," he said, laughing, " but I
will give you a clue. We follow in the footsteps
of Sir Francis Drake."
Then I knew that 'twas against Cadiz we
sailed. I was confirmed by his crying after me,
" Farewell, Septimi, Gadis aditure mecum."
This was the way of my second meeting.
About noon of Sunday, the 2oth of June, I
was with my lord Essex in his ship the Due
Repulse in the squadron of which my former
General, Sir Francis Vere, was Vice-Admiral.
A great dispute had arisen among the Admirals
CADIZ BAR. 113
as to the attack upon the galleons in the inner
harbour of Cadiz, the Lord High Admiral main-
taining that 'twas needful first to silence the
shore forts with a land attack, while my lord
Essex held that, with a fine stern breeze blowing,
'twas our business to proceed forthwith against
the ships. There was a great sea rolling in from
the outer ocean, and we tossed uneasily at anchor
while we endeavoured to land our footmen on
a rocky beach where the surf broke heavily.
Already the long-boat of Sir Francis Vere's
Rainbow had been swamped, and fifteen stout
fellows drowned. My lord Essex paced the
deck, tugging at his beard, very fretful at the
delay and the plan of which he little approved.
Presently, as I stood near him, we saw in the
hollow of the waves a cock-boat, rowed by two
seamen, with a gentleman aboard her.
" What madman takes the water in that nut-
shell? " I asked, when my lord gave a cry of joy
and ran to the bulwarks.
Then I saw that the madman was no less than
Sir Walter Raleigh, the Vice-Admiral, who had
gone to the inshore station the night before in
ii4 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
his ship, the Warspite. He greeted my lord with
a wave of his hat, and the next moment we had
thrown him a rope, and he had clambered on
deck as lightly as a squirrel, while the cock-boat
was made fast below.
" What folly is to the fore, my lord ? " he
cried. " You are landing men on an iron coast,
while God has sent us a fresh wind to bear down
the galleons. They lie packed like pilchards in
the inner harbour, hungering for shot. The four
Apostles are there, and with two of them, the
Philip and the Andrew^ I have a score to settle
for Dick Grenville's sake. Likewise, there is the
Flota of the Indies, and the carracks of New
Mexico. What tarry we for ? '
My lord said moodily that 'twas the decision
of the Lord High Admiral and the Council.
" Then I go to reverse the decision," said he,
and moved to the bulwarks.
"Stop, Sir Walter," my lord cried. " Tis
not fitting to discuss what the Council has
" Was it your will, my lord ? ' asked Sir
Walter. " No. And judging by the wind He
CADIZ BAR. 115
hath sent, 'tis no more the will of God. I go to
talk with the Lord High Admiral."
My lord would have stayed him, but he was
gone. He swung himself into the cock-boat,
and the next minute was hid in the trough of the
great green billows. My lord turned to me.
" There goes a gallant folly. If he be not
swamped, he will get the rough side of my lord
Howard, and there will be but the more con-
fusion. A pest upon a war where all are
generals ! ' And he took again to his striding
upon the poop, but gave orders that for a little
the landing should cease.
In about an hour there was a cry from the
watchman in the bows, and we perceived the
cock-boat returning. The tide was with it, and
'twas so engulfed in water that I looked every
minute to see it founder.
" 'Tis good news," I cried. " See how Sir
Walter waves his hand."
We lay over the edge while the boat neared,
and there was no mistaking the air of the Admi-
ral. He was steering, not for us, but for his own
squadron, which lay further within the harbour.
n6 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
But he passed us at some fifty paces, and I could
remark the exultation in his face. He was as
soiled and draggled with the sea as any mortal
I have ever seen.
He looked up at us, and, as he passed, cried but
the one word in Spanish " Entramos." Upon
which my lord Essex, transported with delight,
cut a step on the deck, and, taking his plumed
hat from his head, flung it into the sea in the
direction of the inner harbour. "Glory to God ! '
he cried ; " the tide will carry my hat to the
galleons and give them my challenge."
By the time we had re-shipped the men from
the shore 'twas close on evening, and, though
my lord would have pressed on forthwith, like
Francis Drake, in the darkness, the others were
for waiting till daylight. Sir Walter came
aboard to sup with my lord, and a council of
war was held in the cabin of the Rainbow. I
learned later that after much wrangling Sir
Walter was appointed to lead the van with seven
ships of battle his own Warspite^ my lord's Rain-
bow, the Mary Rose, the Lion, the Siviftsure, the
CADIZ BAR. 117
Dreadnought ', and the Nonpareil. As these were
the lighter vessels, they were deemed fittest to
come to grips with the galleons in the shallow
water, while my lord Essex and the Lord
Admiral commanded the greater ships of the
We started at the first peep of day, Sir Walter
having the lead of us. I remember very plain
how merrily he sailed under the very walls of
the City, while the forts battered him, and
the galleys ranged alongside shot off all their
pieces. He disdained to answer them, save that
at each cannonade he had his trumpets sound
a blare. But the others of our fleet were less
scornful, and the galleys were driven to their
oars so that they might escape into the straits
of the inner harbour to find shelter among the
Presently he was within reach of the S. Philip^
and straightway dropped his anchor. The Lord
Admiral had ordered him not to lie alongside,
but to wait for fly-boats before he boarded.
There was too little depth of water to deploy
into line, and we had perforce to wait for the
n8 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
flood-tide, being anchored in the shape of a great
wedge, of which Sir Walter's ship was the point.
For three hours our English guns played mightily
upon the Spaniards, and they in turn, being
armed with heavier artillery, replied with deadly
hurt. The Warspite was shut from our view by
clouds of smoke, and diademed with red jewels of
fire. 'Twas the first time I had ever faced a
sea-fight, and for a soldier 'twas a stern trial.
Here was no breach to attack or enemy to regard ;
only the menace of countless great shot pouring
like hail from an abyss of smoke and flame. We
soldiers could but stand to our posts on deck,
praying that the hour would come when with
cold steel we might make return. Some of us
were sore wounded. One of my lord's gentlemen
had his arm shot off at the shoulder, and I saw a
seaman laughing one second and the next a head-
less trunk. All the while the flood-tide was
rising, and, being lightly anchored, we were
drifting nearer to the galleons.
After an eternity of waiting, Sir Walter came
to us in a skiff, his face so black with powder
I had taken him for a negro. He implored my
CADIZ BAR. 119
lord to send him the fly-boats, for without them
he could not bring the fight to an issue.
" Fly-boats ! " cried my lord. " I would give
my left hand for the sight of them. There has
been treason in this, Sir Walter, or else my lord
Howard's wits have gone a-wandering."
" I wait no 'more ! " said Sir Walter, getting
aboard his skiff. " I can endure this battery no
longer. If we wait we must burn, if we board
we may sink, and either fate is destruction.
They have the guns of us, man two to our one.
I go to shake hands with the Philip, and shall be
aboard her before the Dons can cry 'Santiago!''
Then began the most desperate strife I have
ever witnessed. For between Sir Walter, my
lord Essex, and my lord Thomas there was a
noble rivalry as to who should first grapple with
the galleons. Indeed, 'twas like a play of school-
boys; for my lord Thomas, pressing forward,
would have drawn his ship alongside of the
Warspite, but Sir Walter cut the warp. So it
came that the Warspite and the Swiftsure, in
which ship was my lord Essex and myself,
formed the van of our English line at the mouth
120 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
of the straits into which the galleons were
The flow of the tide set them straining on
their anchor-ropes, so that they leaned over
towards the shore. Their fire was slackening,
for with the list of their hulls the great guns on
their upper decks shot too high, and, though
they cut our cordage and brought down our
spars, they did little hurt to our crews or men-
at-arms. I remember that Sir Walter flung a
hawser, so that he might warp his ship along of
the S. Philip^ and fast as the rope was flung the
Spaniards cast it loose, and heeded not our
musket fire. There was a window of a poop
cabin where grew a rose in a pot, a strange sight
in such a mist of terror. With every motion of
the galleon the little flower rocked, so that I
found myself waiting on its fate, oblivious of
what was a-doing around me. Such small things
will hold a man's regard in a crisis, and to me
that rose was the gauge of our toil. If it fell, I
made sure that the Navy of Spain was conquered.
A hand was stretched out at last and the flower
drawn in ; and at the same moment a bullet
CADIZ BAR. 121
grazed my right ear, causing me to bleed like
a stuck pig. Also I saw Sir Walter's hawser
fixed at last, and the Warspite begin to draw
up to the Philip.
'Twas the turn of the battle. The Spaniard
had no heart for English steel. A trumpet
blared, and the anchor-ropes of all four galleons
were cut. They set in to the shore with the
tide and wind, and the Warspite was like to have
gone with them. But, seeing the peril, one of
the seamen cut the warp with an axe, and she
rode clear. Then ensued a horrid and amazing
spectacle. All four galleons heeled over on the
mudbank, and from ports and deck men were
spewed like sea-coal from a basket. Many were
dying of wounds, and there were dead men that
rolled heavily like bales into the sea. The
S. Philip and S. Thomas caught fire, and vented
forth great belches of dark smoke, while ever
and anon a keg of powder would explode and
shoot red flames skyward. We on the Swiftsure
were scorched with the heat, and choked with
the fumes of it. Sharpshooters on the poop of
the S. Matthew still kept up a deadly fire, while
122 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
all the aim of our fleet was to capture the
grounded galleons which were yet unburnt.
There was no sign of fly-boats, and we could
not with safety urge our vessels nearer the shore,
so we must take to the pinnaces and long-boats
and row through the reek to the mudbank where
the S. Andrew and S. Matthew lay. The boats
from the Warspite were there before us, and such
a confusion began that if any had desired to see
Hell, there 'twas most livelily enfigured. We
set parties to pick up such of the Spaniards in
the water as were yet alive, and would doubtless
have saved more had not the boats from the
Flemish ships come up and begun an accursed
work of butchery. Indeed my lord Essex bade
us fire upon that rabble, that they might learn
the decencies of a soldier's trade.
Sir Walter was first aboard the S. Andrew^
being eager to capture the galleon that had
fought with Sir Richard Grenville's Revenge.
But by this time all order in the fight had
slackened, and those who had not swum to shore
or been choked in the mud were huddled like
limpets on the steep-sloping deck, clinging to
CADIZ BAR. 123
cords and pins and whatever might give them
hold. Yet one or two in the crosstrees still kept
up a fire, and one shot, striking on deck, played
such havoc with Sir Walter's leg that he all but
rolled into the sea. I chanced to be at his side,
and gave him support, but 'twas a horrid wound,
all interlaced with splinters of wood. Yet so
great was his spirit that he had the strength to
receive the submission of the Spanish Admiral
before he swooned in my arms.
We had made prize of two galleons, and the
others were but shells frizzling to the water's
edge. I carried Sir Walter back to the Warspite^
and had the wound dressed with such rough
chirurgery as availed us. He was in a fury of
impatience, for it seemed to him we were about
to lose the fruits of victory. My lord Essex had
ordered an assault upon the City of Cadiz ; but,
said Sir Walter, we have destroyed the City's
defence, and 'tis like a ripe plum that can be
plucked at will. A city cannot flee, but ships
can, and beyond the Puntal Channel was the
Indian Flota, laden with the tribute of the West.
If we took it not now, he held it would escape
i2 4 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
us by the narrow channel to the south, so soon
as the tide allowed, and be in some safe port by
the evening. He sent messengers to the Lord
High Admiral and my lord Thomas and my lord
Essex, but the mind of the Council was set on
sacking the City. 'Tis a malady that burns
strong in a man after a bloody fight, as I have
witnessed in the Low Countries. They sent
back civil words about his wound, and bade him
consider his health and his value to Her Majesty.
Whereupon Sir Walter fumed himself into a
fever. " There is naught for it, Sir Adam," he
said, " but that you and I should go alone. I
will take twenty-five men-at-arms and a score of
sailors. The Flota will be but a lame duck now
that it has lost its defenders. We will ship our-
selves in pinnaces, and trust to God to give us
the wealth of New Spain. 'Tis the Guiana
I implored him to respect his weakness, but
he would take no denial. He gave the orders,
and in an hour's time we were embarked in the
boats, while from the shore came the first
thunder of the great guns in my lords' assault
CADIZ BAR. 125
on the City. That harbour was as strange a
place as I have ever seen. Well might it have
been called the Spaniards' Graveyard. For the
dead floated everywhere, and the wreckage of
ships, blackened with fire and reddened with
men's blood. It was silent, too, for the captured
galleons had been towed off, the lighter Spanish
ships had fled inward, and there was no sound
save the seagulls and a last spluttering of flames
from the hulls of the S. Philip and S. Thomas.
I remember that I wondered what had befallen
the little rose-plant in the pot. . . .
We were not opposed, save for some stray
shots from the land, till we had gone through
half the channel. Then beyond us we saw the
tall masts of the Flota, and in front an array of
galleys, the same which Sir Walter had saluted
with his trumpets below the forts of the City.
At the sight of them we let out a cheer, and our
fellows bent fiercely to the sweeps.
"Tis the Plate Fleet," Sir Walter cried.
" One more tussle, lads, and we have our hands
on the treasury of Spain."
'Tis hard to stand against one who is newly
126 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
victor, and 'tis doubly hard, if you be the keeper
of treasure, to withstand a victor who burns for
it. The sight of our grim faces sent half of the
crews of the galleys overboard. There were
some that kept their places, and we had two men
slain in the first boat ; but the galley crews were
rebelling, and had out their sweeps even against
the will of the soldiers, who would have fought.
There was no need to board. Such galleys as
did not flee before us were emptied of men, so
that 'twas like sailing through a woodyard.
" Twenty strokes, lads," Sir Walter cried, " and
we are at the gold."
Then that happened which rebuffed our hopes,
but did great honour to the Spanish nation. One
instant we were looking at the Flota, with men on
every deck ; and the next the great ships seemed
to fly asunder in a dazzle of light. The heavens
were torn with the crash of it, and we of the boats
crouched in the bottoms, expecting momentarily
to be engulfed. Some timbers did indeed strike
us, and there were men bruised and wounded ; but,
mercifully, we had not advanced near enough to
suffer heavily either from the rubbish or the swirl
CADIZ BAR. 127
of the water over the sinking ships. The Spanish
gunners had done their work well. When the
air cleared, we sat moodily at our thwarts, rubbing
our eyes and gazing into the sea which held the
dust of a Navy. Far off we saw certain of the
galleys fleeing to a south port.
Sir Walter's complexion changed from wrath
to a sudden humour. He took off his hat and
saluted the empty channel.
" Twelve million gold ducats," he said, " gone
to the congers and God knows how many
human souls. They have learned Dick Gren-
ville's lesson. I love not Spaniards in life, but
some have a pretty notion how to die."
NEW TIMES; NEW MEN.
" O what a noble mind is here o'erthrown !
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's eye, tongue, sword,
The expectancy and rose of the fair state . . .
The observed of all observers, quite, quite down ! "
Hamlet III. i. 159-162.
NEW TIMES; NEW MEN.*
bitter evening in the third week before
Christmas, having finished my comments on
the case Doe against Thomas Altwhistle for my
master, Mr. Serjeant Jodrell, I bethought myself
of the need of supper. My lodgings above
Middle Temple Lane were grown mortal chilly,
and the single lamp by which I pursued my
toil had turned so smoky and foul that 'twas
worse than a farthing dip. My former servant
was dead of the Plague, and I had to make shift
with a wastrel out of Whitefriars, who mulcted
me grossly and gave me small comfort. 'Twas
the night for a tavern, and my thoughts dwelt
lovingly on the roaring wood-fires and the ex-
cellent mulled ale of Gilpin's in Fetter Lane.
* From the Memoirs of Philip Benedict, Esquire, of the Middle Temple ;
afterwards a Judge of His Majesty's Court of Common Pleas,
(1,562) " 9
1 3 o SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
I went forth about six o'clock into a town
which lay still as death under the stricture of
a great frost. It had been such a winter as no
living man remembered. A weeping summer had
wakened the Plague, and in each week of Sep-
tember over two thousand died. Then had come
an autumn of roaring gales, which purged the
infection but slew the frail by scores. To this
had followed a binding frost, so that ice crackled
on the edge of the salt tides, and beer was frozen
in jugs, and a man had much ado to keep the
blood flowing in his veins. Also the land was dis-
turbed by treasons, and tales of Spanish invasions,
and Scottish tumults. There had been the treason
of the Bye, as it was called, for which the priests
Watson and Clarke and my lord Grey of Wilton
had been condemned, and the treason of the Main,
for which my lord Cobham and Sir Walter Raleigh
were to suffer death. For myself, I could make
no meaning out of it all. There were some said
that the aim was to bring the lady Arabella
Stuart to the throne, and some the Infanta of
Spain ; but 'twas generally agreed that the
Popish religion was to be set up and Protestant
NEW TIMES; NEW MEN. 131
heads to tumble. At any rate, the priests had
died a month ago, and this very day at Win-
chester the axe was to fall upon Sir Walter and
the lords Grey and Cobham. I did not sorrow
for their fate save that I had heard Raleigh
highly reported of as a wit, and I had some
regret that great parts and dishonesty should be
I found my seat by the fire at Gilpin's, and
when I had turned the edge of my hunger took
leisure to survey the company. There was a
lawyer of Gray's Inn, whom I knew and liked
little a jackal of the King's attorney, Sir
Edward Coke, who had learned the ill tongue
of his master. There were several merchants
of the City, notably Alderman Killigrew, whose
voice was the loudest on earth, and Master
Milliard, a man reputed of vast wealth, whose
ships plied between Limehouse and the Low
Countries. There was a countryman or two,
come up to Smithfield for the winter markets,
and two men whom from their dress 1 judged
to have travelled far. One was clearly a gentle-
man, though his face was browned like a
132 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
shepherd's, and the other a great broad man
with a fierce beard on his upper lip and the
sharp blue eyes of the mariner.
The tavern of late had been filled with talk of
treason and abuse of the traitors, and the Alder-
man was loud in the matter. The King had
no more zealous friend than this haberdasher
of Cheapside, and to listen to him you would
have thought that he sat at the least on His
Majesty's Council. He narrated the late lament-
able plots, and was especially bitter against Sir
Walter Raleigh. I questioned him, and he
answered that the reason of his hate was two-
fold : this Raleigh's treatment of my lord Essex,
and his harshness with unlicensed adventurers
who had infringed the Virginian monopoly. It
seemed that Master Killigrew had been laid by
the heels under a warrant of Council for import-
ing sassafras against the monopoly, and thereby
lowering the market price. His wares were
seized, and he was mulcted in a fine, and when
he sought mercy from Sir Walter he was sent
packing with little comfort. The thought made
him choke with gall
NEW TIMES; NEW MEN. 133
" Ay, sirs, he scorned me me, the Master of
the Worshipful Company of Brazenfaces, and. by
God's grace within seven years Lord Mayor of
London. This scorner of God and true religion
raised a sacrilegious foot against my quarters.
I could not abide his choleric eye. But Heaven
has granted me vengeance. I saw him on the
27th day of October being carried by Richmond
in a coach with the King's officers. There
was such a crowd that the horses could scarce
win their way. I saw many of my worshipful
friends, and honest prentice lads with their
staves, and scores of hearty citizens come out
to cry against treason. When he came, this
Raleigh, this Court popinjay and silken deceiver,
with his proud eyes and his hand ever on sword
Ods, masters, but it was a noble sight !
You could scarce prevent the good folk from
tearing him asunder. They shouted out their
threats, and flung pipe-stems and stones and
mud. 'Twas the vengeance of the people, all
done in honesty and good reason, seeing as they
were but the instruments of the Almighty's
wrath. I marked the mien of the crowd and
134 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
there was no foolish tumult, but a grave resolu-
tion. 'Twas both mild and awful."
" Mud and offal," said Master Hilliard very
The Alderman swung round as he had been
stung. But before he could speak, the broad
sailorman got up, and, pulling his forelock
politely, says, " Did I hear, sir, as how stones
and pipe-sticks were flung at Sir Walter ? I
pray you for the names of those as done it, for
Nathan Stubbs* would like to have some manner
o' talk with them."
The Alderman looked darkly at the speaker,
for he did not follow his West Country speech.
On Master Hilliard he turned fiercely.
" You defend the traitor ! " he cried, " against
the righteous wrath of the people ? '
" I defend a great man against a rabble," says
Master Hilliard. " Sir Walter has broken my
head ere now for my ventures when they ran
counter to his own, but he would ever protect
England and the merchants of England against
the common foe. Why, 'twas this Raleigh that
* See Chap. IV.
NEW TIMES; NEW MEN. 135
kept the narrow seas clear for us venturers and
wrung gold out of a stone to pay for war-ships."
" He was a monopolist," said the Alderman,
shaking his head like a sick dog. " And he
loved war and display and the things that beggar
Master Hilliard laughed loud as he rilled the
bowl of his pipe with tobacco. " Tell that
to your Brazenfaces at their next sederunt.
Why, man, but for this Raleigh you and your
like would have the Dons' swords pricking your
fat sides till you gave up your crowns and
mumbled paternosters. Some day, when you
hear the enemy's guns booming in the Thames,
you will repent of your folly, and sigh for the
man who kept your coasts."
" I liked him little," said Gilpin, the host, who
was carving a sirloin. " He was no trencherman,
and would not drink good liquor when he was in
the way of it."
One of the countrymen took his mouth out of
a pint pot. " Rawley ! " he cried in his broad
Leicestershire tongue. " He was a good friend
to us graziers. I mind two years ago, when Her
136 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
Majesty, God rest her, would have passed an Act
to make every man plough a third of his land,
this Rawley up in Parliament and spoke against
it. ' I do not like,' he says and I cherish his
words ' this constraining of men to use their
ground at our wills ; but rather that every man
use his ground to that which it is most fit for,
and therein use his own discretion.' God's truth,
thinks I, for I will earn twenty crowns a year off
pasturing beasts when I would lose ten if I
ploughed the acres. Here's to Rawley 's health,
wherever he be ! '
The seaman was still at the Alderman, pulling
his lock and speaking courteously. " Touching
that flinging of pipe-stems at Sir Walter," he was
going on, when the gentleman who sat beside
him pulled him down.
" Tush, Nathan, you will get no satisfaction
out of that ox." Then, " Gentlemen all," he
says, looking round the company, " Sir Walter
Raleigh, who is now with God, was my very
good friend. I have known him since we played
together in boyhood, and I will uphold that the
King had no loyaller servant or England a more
NEW TIMES; NEW MEN. 137
valiant lover. I impugn not the justice of his
sentence, but if he erred 'twas unwittingly, and
this day he hath paid the extreme penalty. But
one thing I affirm, and will maintain it with my
sword : When the King's Attorney said he had
a Spanish heart and plotted a Spanish invasion,
the King's Attorney most foully and blackly lied.
Sir Walter's soul ever loathed Spain as he loved
" Treason ! ' cried the shrill voice of the
Gray's Inn lawyer, Cheape by name. "He
speaks treason against the King's Attorney-
General, and this hath been held no less than
treason against the King's person. 'Twere mis-
prision to listen calmly, the crime for which the
traitor Raleigh hath this day died."
" Treason ! " cried Alderman Killigrew in his
" I know not the condition of the protestants,"
said the gentleman sweetly, " but if they be
gently born I will make amends for my words.
I am Sir John Buller,* a knight of Devon, and
my sword is at their service."
* See Chap. I.
138 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
Master Cheape was a man of peace, and he
shrank back into his corner and blinked his
" Nay, no offence, sir," he says ; " but I must
uphold the honour of my great master and
patron, Sir Edward Coke. He has riper wisdom
in the law than any man living, and he deals not
in idle words. He proved to the Court that
Raleigh was guilty of treason on five counts and
of misprision on three. I grant you that on
certain points he had but the one witness, but
that witness was my lord Cobham, who spoke
against interest since he thereby lost his own
head. Moreover, as I will show by the Act i
and 2 Philip and Mary, 'tis laid down that in a
case of treason one witness will suffice, and
But he got no further. The door swung
open, and there entered a tall man in long boots
and riding cloak, whose face glowed like a fire
from the bitter weather. He bowed to the com-
pany, and called for mulled wine and a hot pasty.
There was that in his voice that bespoke the
soldier, and his restless dark eye seemed inured
NEW TIMES; NEW MEN. 139
to wars. 'Twas unfortunate for the Alderman
that he chose that moment, when the new-
comer had seated himself, to begin the discourse
" True law and good law, Master Cheape," he
said. " A man may sleep in his bed while the
land hath Sir Edward Coke as a faithful watch-
dog against ravening wolves. It stands to reason
that this Raleigh was a spy of Spain ; for if Spain
be an enemy of England, and this Raleigh be the
enemy of the King and his Council, therefore by
plain logic he hath a Spanish heart."
I was watching the new-comer, and saw his
brows lower. He stretched a long arm and
caught the Alderman by the neck.
" Recant those words, fat man," he said, while
his great hand swayed the head back and forward
like a puppet-doll. " I have sworn to suffer no
greasy citizen to defile that name."
" Fetch the guard ! " cried the choking Alder-
" Ay, fetch the guard," said the soldier ; " I
will fling them a piece of dead carrion when
1 40 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
'Twas so comic a sight that I could not keep
from laughing ; and since 'twas clear that the
new-comer was doing no great harm, we did not
stir to prevent him. The Alderman spluttered
and gurgled, but, seeing no better way of it, he
stammered a withdrawal and was released.
" What comes of English liberty," he cried,
valiant as ever, when he had gotten to the far
end of the room, " if a man cannot speak well of
the law of the land without being throttled by a
wandering bully ? '
" I care not a fig for English liberty," the
soldier smiled. " But I will let no gutter-blood
spit venom on a fair name. The law hath its
own defenders, but so long as Gervase Luttrell *
lives he will defend the fame of the great Captain
who this day hath declined on death."
At this Sir John Buller reached his hand to
him, and we three in the corner by the fire fell
to talking very pleasantly, while the Alderman
sulked, the seaman smoked his pipe, the country-
men drank deep, and Master Milliard baited
Master Cheape. The landlord, fearful of another
* See Chap. II.
NEW TIMES; NEW MEN. 141
quarrel, and being of a merry disposition, called
for a song, and having most dread of the soldier,
pressed him for a catch.
" Nay, friend," says this Captain Luttrell, " I
am in no singing mood. This day I have lost
a friend and master. I ha' come post haste
from Winchester, for I could not bear to see
the axe fall on that noble head. I waited there
after the trial, hoping to have speech with Sir
Walter, but he was kept too close."
" You were at the trial, sir ? ' I asked.
The soldier nodded. " I stood in the crowd
through all the days of it. You must know
that I have served with Sir Walter, both long
ago in the Irish Wars, and some six years since
in the fighting in the Azores. At the taking
of the town called Villa Dorta I marched alone
with him in a rain of shot, while my knees
gave under me, and he laughed lightly and
whistled a song. But never have I seen such
a height of courage in man as in that Court
at Winchester. He stood there like a royal stag
bayed by a pack of curs. There was a row of
Judges and Commissioners, void and foolish men,
142 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
with malice in their dazed eyes ; and in the
midst the Lord Chief Justice, who had been
better employed in the pursuits of his youth,
when he took purses on Shooter's Hill. Before
them raved the King's Attorney with a brace
of fat Serjeants. c Thou hast a Spanish heart,'
they cried ; c thou art a Spider of Hell,' 'twas
their best argument. They had lungs of brass,
and their mouths frothed with venom."
"Treason !" cried Master Cheape.
" Another word, ferret face," says the soldier,
" and you will go through the window, bars
" I never dreamed of such a sight," he went
on. " I am unlearned in the law, but mother-
wit tells me that no man can be judged on the
sole evidence of one who is a proved liar and
recants what he says ere he hath said it. What
more was my lord Cobham than a half-witted
coward, who bleated whatever he thought might
save his neck ? The most that Sir Walter was
shown to have done was to have listened too toler-
antly when the man raved, and to have thought
him more fool than rogue. But the King's
NEW TIMES; NEW MEN. 143
Attorney bellowed, and the Lord Chief Justice
nodded his foolish head, and told the Jury that
'twas high treason for a man to be offered Spanish
gold, though he never received it and would die
ere he touched it. And the Jury nodded in turn,
and went to sleep. But when Sir Walter spoke
'twas like the north wind that clears a fog. He
was courteous to all, even to the mongrels that
baited him, but if ever right reason triumphed
'twas on his lips. There were many in that Court
who hated him before they saw and heard him,
but who left the place sworn believers in his great-
ness and innocence. Nay, there was a Scot to
whom I spoke, who had been sent by the King to
write a record of the trial. He said that when he
first came he would have gone a hundred miles
to see Raleigh hanged, but ere the close he
would have walked a thousand to save his life."
I asked about the end.
" The Jury had been taught their piece, and
spoke it correctly. They obeyed the orders
of the Lord Chief Justice, who obeyed in turn
the faction of my lord Cecil and the Howards.
Sir Walter spoke nobly at the close, and asked
H4 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
only for an honourable mode of death. As for
me, I was so blinded with tears that I could
scarce see. I walked into the street, and when
I heard a man speak aught against Raleigh I
pounded his head on the cobbles. I' faith, I
left some sore crowns in Winchester that day."
The street door swung open again, and an
icy blast set the candles flickering. The man
who entered was a lawyer of the Middle Tem-
ple, much of my own standing, one Master John
Pym, out of Somerset. He came in briskly
with a light in his eyes.
" Have you heard the news, Philip ? ' he
cried to me. " The King hath reprieved Sir
At that there was such a shouting as brought
in the guard to discover the cause. The seaman
Nathan Stubbs arose and, catching Master Hilliard
by the waist, whirled him into a hornpipe. Sir
John and Captain Luttrell called for wine, and
pledged first His Majesty, and then Sir Walter,
and last of all gave the toast of confusion to all
traitors, naming no names. 'Twas easy to read
NEW TIMES; NEW MEN. 145
their meaning, and the Alderman and the Gray's
Inn fellow were black with wrath.
Then Captain Luttrell declared that he was
in the mood for singing at last, and would obey
Master Gilpin's behest. So in a great round
voice he trolled these verses :
The Almiranty of Santa Fee
Guards to 'tend him had fifty-three ;
And pikes and muskets a goodly store,
And long-nosed cannons, forty and more ;
And five great ships that tossed on the sea,
Had the Almiranty of Santa Fee.
Dickon of Devon had nought to his name
But a ragged shirt and an empty fame,
An old plumed hat and the Devil's own pride,
And a worn old blade that swung at his side.
But he hated Spaniards terribillee,
And the Almiranty of Santa Fee.
The Almiranty of Santa Fee
Had a laughing lady, fair and free ;
Gold in chest and wine in keg,
And pearls as big as a pigeon's egg ;
And crosses and jewels so rare to see,
Had the Almiranty of Santa Fee.
Now Dickon came in with the wind, came he,
And burned the castle of Santa Fee,
Slew the guards and rifled the chests,
And tossed the guns to the sea-birds' nests ;
And he said to the dame, " Will ye come with me,
Or bide in the ashes of Santa Fee ? "
146 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
Then up and spoke the lady free,
" It's out of this prison I fain would be.
For I am of England, bred and born,
And I hold all yellow-faced Dons in scorn."-
" Oh, a widowed man this day I be ! "
Quo' the Almiranty of Santa Fee.
Master Pym, though little older than myself,
had a gravity beyond his years. He had a
broad chest, and a head like a lion's, and the
serenest blue eyes I have ever seen in man.
Long after, when he had come to great fame
in the nation, I reminded him of the night
at Gilpin's and of his joyful news. And he
answered that Raleigh was the first of those
who stood for the liberties of England, and
that he and Sir John Eliot and the others of
the Parliament but walked in his footsteps.
On this occasion he told his tale with dancing
eyes. A post had come from Winchester to
tell how, when his head was all but on the
block, Sir Walter had been reprieved and sent
prisoner to the Tower. At this very moment
he was on his way under guard to London.
The tide hath turned," said Master Pym.
The very mob which a month ago would have
NEW TIMES; NEW MEN. 147
torn him from his keepers is now shouting his
praises, and calling for vengeance upon them
that traduced him. My lord Cobham will do
wisely to keep out of their hands. Mark you,
sirs, Sir Walter hath not always conducted
himself discreetly. He hath been headstrong
and over-proud, and hath confounded oftentimes
his own glory and his land's welfare. But he
hath stood manfully for England, and the great
heart of him could not sink to the reptile ways
of the common courtier. This trial hath purged
his fame in all honest eyes. He hath shown
such a spirit in the face of disaster that from his
words will be born a new gospel for the people.
In after days, when we have long been dust, no
man will remember Sir Edward Coke or my
Lord Chief Justice Popham save as those who,
like Judas and Pilate, betrayed innocent blood."
" Blasphemy ! ' cried Master Cheape, who
with a sad countenance was making ready to
depart. " 'Tis an ill day for England when
a jackanapes from the West will teach law to
his masters, and confound black treason with
148 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
The other laughed pleasantly.
" I am no lawyer, Master Cheape, though I
have studied law. But I will give you a word
in friendly season. Make the most of the
present, for the day comes when you will fare
badly. Doubt not there is a new spirit coming
to birth in this land. I will yet live to see its
workings, and when that day comes 'twill go
ill with lick-spittles, whether of Kings or King's
Master Pym said no more, for Nathan Stubbs
was plucking at his elbow.
" A mercy, kind sir," whispered the sailorman.
" You are a friend to Sir Walter, and I would
have a word in your ear. You speak of his
lying in the prison of the Tower. Tell me,
is this Tower a strong place, or could it be taken
by resolute men ? There be twenty and more
of us, lying at the ' Green Wife ' in Wapping.
We be all lusty fellows, and handy for a
rescue. . . ."
" Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage ;
Minds innocent and quiet take
These for a heritage."
COLONEL RICHARD LOVELACE.
l_,,.l'-,-.l"...<.-'.<* r "'*h- >l>r..J.
TN the spring of the year 1612 I was deputed
by the Principal and Fellows of Brasenose
College to journey to London on various matters
concerning our lands, and likewise to bear the
thanks of the University of Oxford to the noble-
men, gentlemen, and scholars who had made gifts
to Sir Thomas Bodley's new Library. Among
these donors were my lord Pembroke and, what
seemed to me a portent of generosity, Sir Walter
Raleigh, who from his prison in the Tower, and
out of the poor relics of his fortune, spared no
less a sum than 50. My lodging was at the
house in Holborn of my mother's cousin, Master
John Hoskyns, the famed Serjeant-at-law, and
one of the most admired scholars of the day.
*A record left by that admirable scholar, Mr. Richard Bristowe of Brase-
nose College, Oxford, afterwards Lord Bishop of Lincoln and Editor of the
Opera of Seneca.
150 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
We would walk together, discoursing of high
matters, and visiting those sights of the City
which were marvels to a country-bred man. On
the afternoon of May-day, I remember, we took
the air on the wharf by the river from which the
eye looks to the terraced gardens of the Tower.
There I saw a man pacing, his hands behind his
back, and his shoulders bent as if in thought.
Suddenly there came up a ship with the tide, her
sails dropping as she rode to anchor. The man
put his hands to his eyes and stared at the vessel,
as if he had been a sailor on the look-out. There
were other spectators near, and I heard a murmur
in the throng that the prisoner was Sir Walter
Raleigh. Judge how I gazed at one whose name
those thirty years had flown through the mouths
The Serjeant marked my interest. " This
evening," he said, " we will go to visit Sir
Walter. He welcomes his friends after supper,
and you will find better talk in his chamber than
in any tavern of the wits."
So it fell that the same evening I put on my
best suit of laced velvet, for in London I love to
STONE WALLS. 151
dress rather as courtier than as scholar, and took
a coach to the West Gate of the Tower. Master
Hoskyns was a familiar figure, and we were con-
ducted straightway to that part of the Castle
known as the Bloody Tower, because of the
deaths of King Edward V. and his brother. We
entered a pleasant chamber, with windows on
two sides, looking on one hand to the Terrace
and the river wharves, and on the other to the
Lieutenant's bowling green and a pretty garden
of roses. The place was handsomely provided,
and a small fire of logs burned on the hearth.
There I found company assembled my lady
Raleigh, who lodged near by, and Master John
Talbot, and the famous Ben Jonson, who was
declaiming a scene of a play. There were
likewise a Guiana Indian, who waited as page
upon my Lady, and a small lean-faced man with
deep-set eyes, who I was told was His Majesty's
Solicitor, Sir Francis Bacon. My Lady sat on
a settle by the west window, busy with some
broidery, while the others talked and listened to the
poet, and smoked the tobacco herb in long pipes.
Sir Walter Raleigh was dressed richly in
152 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
scarlet trunk hose and a blue velvet doublet,
with a furred gown around his shoulders. He
sat close to the hearth, for he had the ague
in his bones, and suffered much from chilliness.
I remember how kindly he bade me welcome,
speaking to me of Oxford and the scholars of
his acquaintance, but ever with a word to the
others, so as to bind us all in one circle of
discourse. He was already past the meridian
of life, but till I looked close at him 'twas
hard to credit it. For he bore himself gallantly,
and his eyes had ever a spark of fire and a laugh-
ing humour. Yet his face was shrunken about
the jaws, his brows were lined and seamed, and
a web of crow's feet rimmed his eyes. In his
hair and beard, though tended carefully, there
were many threads of grey. 'Twas the face
of one who, like Ulysses, had seen men and
cities, and had dared whatever man may dare.
There were moments when I thought of him
as an elder whose day had passed, but at other
times he had the free and radiant air of youth,
so that he seemed rather a lion caged than an
old man dedicate to the leisure of age.
STONE WALLS. 153
We talked first of his great History, wherein
Ben and Sir Francis Bacon were his allies. I
have never seen such a devourer of books, or one
who used his knowledge so aptly. He would
puzzle Ben no mean scholar with a Greek
line, and confound Sir Francis with a subtlety of
Justinian's law. From the company of his books,
he said, he drew more true comfort than ever from
his courtly companions in their chiefest bravery.
'Twas honestly said, I doubt not, and yet it rang
hollow. I could not look at those eyes and believe
them wedded for all time to a lettered page.
Then at a question of the King's Solicitor
the talk turned to matters of statecraft. Sir
Walter had written a discourse on The Prerogative
of Parliaments, and had had it copied for gifts to
his friends. Holding this discourse in his hands,
Sir Francis was for questioning certain of its
" There is but the one prerogative," said he,
" which is a seamless robe and indivisible. If
it be in His Majesty he cannot share it with his
subjects, still less with any Parliament of subjects."
"True," said Sir Walter. "There is but
154 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
the one prerogative, but as I read the laws of
England, Sir Francis and these last years I have
read in them deeply that prerogative is not in
His Majesty's person but in his office, and that
office is, as it were, a trust for the benefit of all.
The law is the true sovereign. If His Majesty
offend against the law fundamental, his deeds are
void : and therein I agree with my old foe, Sir
Edward Coke. 'Twas the lesson which the
Barons of England read to King John at Runny-
" Then where is your royal prerogative ? '
cried the King's Solicitor. "Sir Walter! Sir
Walter ! I fear you are treading dangerous
Raleigh smiled, and with the tongs drew a
coal for his pipe.
" 'Tis a simple matter, like all true ones. The
King has his prerogative inasmuch as he is the
guardian of the laws. If he err in his wardship,
he forfeits the honours which belong to him
because of that wardship. All the Estates of
the realm are, in a manner of speaking, one
body, and as the leg hath no claim against the
STONE WALLS. 155
arm, so Commons have no right against Lords
or Lords against Commons, so be they perform
their proper duties. But the brain and heart
of the body I take to be the King, and 'tis his
office to see that all others play their parts, and
that the body, which is the realm, flourished!
by those rules of civil health, which I call the
law fundamental of England. He dare not rule
harshly, for in so doing he is harsh to himself.
As I have written in my History., c no cords have
ever lasted long save those which have been
twisted by love only.' If the brain bids the leg
be still and move not, the leg will grow palsied,
because it hath broken the law of the body, and
in time the brain itself will die. 'Tis so with
" Then," said Sir Francis, " it would seem as
if His Majesty had no powers save as watchdog
over black-letter statutes. 'Tis a sore downfall
for the Lord's Anointed."
Sir Walter's face grew grave. " There is
no downfall, for the King is the State, and the
law is the law of his own well-being. Be
warned, Sir Francis. I honour kingship above
156 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
all earthly honours, and I would see it flourish
immortally. But if ever the King set himself
outside the State and without the Law, his pre-
rogative will turn to a thing of gossamer. Then
you will hear the cry of the prerogative of the
Commons, as in ancient Athens, and haply
Parliament will set itself as sovereign above the
King ay, and above the people."
The King's Solicitor flung up his hands and
laughed. " A prison hath made you a prophet,
but your vision outruns reason. I, who have
some share in the governance of the State, have
no such forebodings. I would strengthen His
Majesty so that he become in very truth God's
regent on earth."
Raleigh turned to me. " You will live the
longest of us, for you are the youngest. Treasure
my words, Master Bristowe, and when you are
old consider if I have spoken falsely."
Ben had grown weary of the discussion, and
was for singing a new song from a play called
Cymbeline^ but lately given to the town. 'Twas
a dirge of the vanity of human hopes, about
golden lads and girls who come to dust. He
STONE WALLS. 157
had got to the third verse when the door opened
and a young man entered.
I had never seen him before, but the company
knew him and stood up at his advent. He was
a slim lad of some eighteen years, with a pale
complexion, but ripe and masterful brown eyes.
Sir Francis bowed low before him, and my Lady
came forward with a deep curtsey. But Raleigh
took him by the hand and drew him to the fire.
"Welcome, Harry," he said ; "your ship is ready
at last." And Sir Francis said, " 'Tis a chill
evening, sire." Then I knew that the stranger
was the Prince of Wales.
I know little of Courts, but the lad was as
merry among us as if he had been Sir Walter's
son. His coming dispelled all dull converse on
statecraft and Ben's funereal ditties. Raleigh
drew from a cupboard a little ship, the same in
all parts as one which sails the sea. 'Twas fitted
with masts and spars and cordage, and even little
guns of brass. He set it in a slip on the table,
and we clustered round to admire.
" 'Tis called by your name, Harry," said the
maker. " As the Prince 'twill sail its mimic
158 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
course, and I trust 'twill show the seamanship
of its godsire. John Shelbury, and Keymis, and I
have wrought hard at it for the past month, and
to me the task has been like a cordial. The
fingers make pleasant tools when the brain is
" As for cordials," said the Prince, " my
mother bids me beg for a further supply of that
of your own making. She hath three maids sick
of the fever. . . . Pray, is that spar in the right
proportion ? Master Pett favours a heavier
And so they talked like two shipwrights,
while the rest of us waited, much tickled by
this boyish play, for Sir Walter was as eager
as the Prince. He had a tale for every item
of tackle. This had been shot away at Cadiz
in the Warsplte^ and that at the Azores in the
Good Venture. And then he fell to memories
till the ship was forgotten. Candles were lit,
and we sat round the May fire, while Sir Walter
looked into the smoke-clouds of his pipe and
told strange tales. 'Twas the highest pleasure
I have ever got from the lips of man. An hour
STONE WALLS. 159
ago he had been the statesman speaking of sober
statecraft, but now he was Ulysses, telling of
a new Phasacia and a better Alcinous. He
spoke of Guiana and the great river whose
shores gleam with gold, and the scented glades
all hung with strange fruits which glow like
lamps in the forest dusk. He told of harsh
deeds on the Main, of fights lost and won, and
of nameless heroes who took counsel from the
lonely valour of their hearts. He spoke of
Manoa, the City of Gold, which God hath hid
in the innermost hills of Guiana, till the gates
fly open before the chosen knight. And through
all ran the tale of the Spaniard, who hath turned
an Eden into a desert. 'Twas a voice from
another age, for he spoke of Spain as the mortal
foe of England, while that night in every tavern
men were debating whether the Princess Eliza-
beth was to marry the Duke of Savoy's son.
I noted that the Prince sat with wide-open
eye, the colour mounting in his cheek as the
tales grew brisk. At the end he sighed.
" I have a fear," he said, " that the Golden
Age is gone from England, and we have declined
160 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
upon the days of little men. The one eagle that
hath remained to us we keep close in a cage like
good poultry-keepers." He looked at Raleigh,
who avoided his gaze.
When his gentlemen came to attend him, he
took farewell with the air of a boy still dreaming.
He paused by the table where stood his ship.
"Ay, ay, good Prince /' he said. "You and
I will never dip our flag to any cry of
' Santiago.' "
When he had gone, Sir Francis Bacon shook
his head solemnly, yet with mirth in his face.
" How can the persuasion of His Majesty's Coun-
cillors anent the Spanish Marriage vie with a
few old wives' tales and a toy ship ? '
I visited Sir Walter again on an afternoon in
July, when he received me on the Terrace out-
side his chambers. The Prince was with him,
and their heads were close in their eager quest.
Below the Terrace in the garden had stood a
little hut of lath and plaster. The Lieutenant's
lady had made it her hen-house, but now the
fowls had flown, and Sir Walter had built a room
STONE WALLS. 161
of stout timber, where he experimented in the
sciences. 'Twas like an alchemist's den, being
heaped with strange simples and ores, and lined
with alembics and crucibles and other vessels of
the- craft. By its side was a furnace where he
In the clear light of a summer day I could see
writ on his face the ravages of time and the sick-
ness of hope deferred. 'Twas nine years since
first he had entered those walls, and every hour
since he had struggled for liberty. The people
had forgiven him his faults, if faults there were.
To the commonalty he was one of the marvels of
the City, a thing to point to their children and
say : " There is the great Sir Walter Raleigh."
But his deeds had been done so long ago that
only the elder folk clearly remembered them.
To the world he was like Tithonus, a human
shadow mated with the bright Dawn of a
memory. At Court, as I had heard, his name
was still a lively offence to the King and to those
of his Councillors who favoured a Spanish alliance.
'Twas the very soul of irony that he should have
been condemned for seeking the friendship of
1 62 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
Spain, and kept in durance because he was deemed
Spain's chiefest enemy. But Her Majesty and
the Prince of Wales were of a separate party and
visited and comforted him, so that from this
quarter his friends saw a sure hope of release.
Sir Walter was ever a lover of dainty clothes,
and when he wrought in his still-room put on an
over-garment, like the smock of a peasant. He
had some copper ore from Ireland and a packet
of marquesite from Guiana, and while they melted
in the furnace he showed his store of herbs and
" There," said he, " is the sweetest balm on
earth. It grows in the high mountains of India,
where no man can reach it ; but the birds of the
plains pluck it for their nests, and there the Indian
seeks it. 'Tis Prester John's herb, and when
distilled with cinnamon and crabs' claws is a
sovereign cure for the falling sickness. I have
but little left, for the ladies of the French King's
Court have begged the most of it from me. A
drop in a cup of wine will make a woman's eyes
shine like the dew."
Prince Henry asked concerning the Great
STONE WALLS. 163
Cordial, which had made Raleigh's name famous
above all physicians. Its maker held it cheap.
" "Tis but a distillation of sugar and saffron,
half made from an old wife's receipt in Devon
and half from a device of the Indians of Hispani-
ola. Your quack will mumble charms over it
and add noisome things to give it mystery, but
'tis only an old wives' posset for the common
Then the Prince, whose mind was ever on
foreign voyages, fell to asking if Sir Walter in
his travels had found no marvellous drugs among
the people of the West. Raleigh shook his
" They have the bark of a tree which cures
fevers, but I have long finished my stock of it.
The Indian lives simply, and does not suffer from
our surfeits and frenzies. But I have heard of a
potion which gives a sick man strength and like-
wise the vision of the Blest."
We were eager to hear of this, and he told us
how a Captain in his Guiana voyage had been shot
by a poisoned arrow so that he lay at the door of
death. A priest had healed him of his wound.
1 64 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
and given him a drug which strengthened him
for travel. Then he had brought him to the
top of a high mountain and had shown him a
City of such golden beauty that the man's heart
ever after was sick with longing.*
" That was a wondrous potion," he said, " but
I am in two minds about the City. Sometimes
I think that the virtue was in the drug, which,
like the Turkish poppy, clouded his brain into a
fair dream. Yet when I remember the stalwart
rough fellow who drank it, I can almost believe
that the draught did no more than comfort the
body, and that he saw in very truth the magical
The Prince asked if the place were Manoa, of
which he had read in Sir Walter's book on his
" It may be Manoa, of which there is good
proof from the witness of other travellers, besides
the belief of all Indians. Or it may be a better
than Manoa. Some day, if God wills, I may go
and see." And he sighed.
Prince Henry spoke quick and soft. " I have
* See Chap. IV.
STONE WALLS. 165
news for you, Sir Walter. My father has
promised me your release at Christmastide. He
hath a plan for getting gold from the Indies, and
he seeks your aid."
The words were but half heard by me, but I
noted the sudden flush on Raleigh's face.
" If His Majesty fulfil the purpose of his great
heart, he will find a devout servant. Nay, dear
lad, we will travel together to the West in a new
Prince, made on the model of your little ship.
We will see together the great river Orinoko
and the hills of El Dorado."
" And the forests and the toothed serpents and
the pine-apples," said the lad eagerly. " And
we will talk with the Spaniard as Englishmen
should. But 'tis an idle hope. I am tied by
the heels, for my father says that it is not fitting
that a Prince of Wales should go forth of the
kingdom save in war."
" War comes," said Raleigh, " and all its
battles will be fought in the West. You will
yet hear your guns, Harry, a-battering Porto
Bello, as Francis Drake sought. You will see
your own topsails shepherding the great galleons
1 66 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
to English seas. Fear not, lad. 'Twill be
a merry world when England takes the water
We were now by the little furnace, watching
the cup into which ran the molten metal. A
thin bright trickle was crawling forth.
"Look!" cried Sir Walter sharply. "There
come the sinews of war. That is what all Eng-
land will shout for City and Court alike. Mark
you, that is Guiana ore. I call it marquesite,
to ward off thieves, but 'twas brought me secretly
by Keymis from a mine I know of. 'Tis no
marquesite, but pure gold, and there is the proof
But the Prince had turned away. " Let
us go back to the distillations," he said ;
" I am mortally wearied with all this talk of
My last visit was made on a dismal day of
November, when I had come to town with a
petition to my lord Arundel on a matter of
fines and recoveries. I found Sir Walter alone
in his chamber, shivering by the hearth with a
STONE WALLS. 167
fit of fever. Outside the wind howled from the
river, and the Terrace was a field of withered
leaves. To my eye he had suddenly gone grey
and old, and I saw that he was bowed with a
great sorrow. Then I remembered the mortal
illness of the Prince. All London waited hourly
on the tidings of his death.
He gave me a wan greeting. " You find me
in an ill hour, Master Richard," he said, " and
my brain is too dull for converse. Sorrow rides
the ass, says the proverb, prosperity the eagle.
My wits go at an ass's pace these days, for I can
endure my own ills, but my friends' woes make a
woman of me."
I asked if he had news of the Prince.
" He enters the port of death. My own
physician has seen him, and vouches that hope is
over. 'Tis a malignant fever, of which no man
knows the cause or cure. I sent him my choicest
drugs, but they rallied him only for a moment.
Had I seen the brave lad myself I might have
read the riddle of his malady, but I am a prisoner
convicted of high treason, and they would not
bring me to him, though he cried for me."
1 68 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
Sir Walter flung his furred robe from him and
walked to the window.
" 'Tis a fitting day for the passing of a king.
Mark you, Harry would have made such a king
as the great Elizabeth was queen. He would
have purged the foul humours of the land, and
set England once more on the path of honour.
I fear the realm hath sinned too deep, and
his God will take him from the wrath to
I could say nothing but those Virgilian lines
where the poet sorrows for the death of the
young Marcellus. Raleigh spoke them after
" He was a son to me, and the solace of my
captivity, and some day he would have been the
greatest king in Christendom. He loved all
honest things. He was a ripe wit and scholar,
a wise statesman, and a dreamer of high dreams."
He murmured to himself that verse of Theocritus
which in English runs thus :
" But Daphnis went down the stream, and the whirl closed over
the head of one most dear to the Muses and not hateful to the
STONE WALLS. 169
Then, remembering that I was soon to be in
priest's orders, I endeavoured to comfort him
with the consolations of religion. He heard me
with a sad courtesy.
" I bow to God's will, but submission will not
chase away sorrow. I sorrow for myself, for I
have now no good friend to bring me out of
prison into the free air. But I sorrow most deeply
for this realm of England. Nay, nay, Master
Richard, I know what you would say. God
will raise up another in His own good time, but
for the present, as the Apostle saith, our case is
not joyous but grievous."
Suddenly he flung open the casement. On
the heavy autumn air came the sound of the
tolling of a bell. 'Twas the Great Bell of Paul's,
which tolls only for a royal death. Then I
knew that all was over.
Raleigh stood silent for a little, his lips moving
as if in prayer. Then he turned to me, and I
saw that his mouth was firm again and his coun-
" I weep not for the dead," he said. " The
Prince is now sailing brighter seas than ours.
170 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
To our business, Master Richard ! I am like
to be many years in this place, and I must see
to it that my time is well spent. Have you
brought the digest of Suetonius I sought for
my History? . . ."
The worn ship reels ; but, still unfurled,
Our tattered ensign flouts the skies ;
And doomed to watch a little world
Of petty men grown mean and wise,
The old sea laughs for joy to find
One purple folly left to her,
When glimmers down the riotous wind
The flag of the Adventurer."
The Ship of Fools.
The Triangle Islands, of the Coast of Guiana :
December the Seventh, 1617.
HPHIS is the first hour of leisure since we sailed
from Cork, and I take my Diurnal to set
down the chances of the voyage. Two days after
Sir Walter came out of the Tower, he bade me
go with him to the Abbey Church of Westmin-
ster, and was eager to know the names of all the
new houses which had been built during his cap-
tivity. When we entered the Abbey doors he
walked to the great new tomb of Queen Eliza-
beth, and stood a time in thought. For long after
he was sunk in melancholy, and spoke no word till
he had come to my lodging in Chancery Lane.
* From the Diurnal of Captain Thomas Keymis, of the ship Centaur;
preserved among the papers of the Fynes family.
172 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
" 'Tis the first venture," he said, " that I have
made without the patent of my incomparable
mistress. Times have changed in the land, and
we sail on a desperate enterprise, with ill-wishers
behind and an enemy forewarned before. I have
written so much of late that I would fain rest
from it ; and, moreover, I will have much ado
to rule the fleet. I pray you, Thomas, set out
in writing all that befalls us, that it may be a
record for those who come after me." So I take
up my pen at my Admiral's command.
For near a year we were hard at work building
ships and getting money. Sir Walter came out of
his prison in March, and 'twas not till December
that his new flagship, the Destiny, was launched
from the slips of Master Phineas Pett. We had
had trouble with our adventurers, scapegraces of
honest houses whom their kinsfolk would have
despatched with us to save from the gallows.
Of gentlemen volunteers we had a better brand,
for with us sailed Sir Warham St. Leger, and
Master George Raleigh, Sir Walter's nephew,
and certain gentlemen of the Pembroke and
Huntingdon families. There was trouble, too,
FAIRY GOLD. 173
over the Admiral's commission, and his pardon
was misdoubted by his friends. There were
those who said that the King wished no more
than to get Sir Walter into fresh mischances,
that he might use his life as a bait for Spanish
friendship. Spain's Ambassador, Don Diego,
wrought day and night to frustrate our plans,
and thought by offering a safe conduct for two
ships to persuade us ancient sailors to put our
heads in the lion's jaws. There were many said
that Sir Walter only waited on the chance to
turn pirate, and, once forth of the kingdom,
would never show face again. But why set
down the follies of his slanderers ? All who had
served under the great Captain knew the honour
of his heart and his fearless bravery. Well we
knew that he would return, though all Spain, and
Hell, and every knave in England waited with
open mouth to rend him. Knowing this, we
had long thoughts of what might befall if the
gold failed and the Spaniard met us with a
superior force. But Sir Walter himself soon
cast out these fears. In truth, he was drunk
with freedom. His thoughts flew as happily
174 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
to the sea and the West as a young maid's to
We were a motley company, for besides the
adventurers I have spoke of, some of whom
could not be denied from coming, we had among
the crews many very perfect rascals, both French
and English. In these days 'tis hard to get good
mariners in England, for, owing to our lethargy
on the sea, the stiff sailor-breed hath decayed,
and those who once sought for El Dorado now
seek only for pilchards. Nevertheless, some of
our captains were true men, and there were some
in the ships who had served aforetime with Sir
Walter, and now dragged their legs from their
firesides to share in his new venture. Knowing
the nature of the crews, the Admiral published
orders to discipline his thirteen ships and thousand
men. He forbade all swearing, dicing, and card-
playing, and promised to hang any man, gentle
or simple, who should play the common pirate
and conduct himself frowardly towards the Indians.
To ensure that devoutness, without which great
enterprises perish untimely, he had a reading of
the Scriptures and prayers said night and morning.
FAIRY GOLD. 175
We were royally feasted by Master Trelawny,
Mayor of Plymouth, and the town drums beat
our company aboard. Then came foul weather,
and after being forced back twice to port, we
anchored in Ireland in the Bay of Kinsale. Here
of old Sir Walter had campaigned, and his friends
flocked to greet him. My lord Boyle flung open
to us his great house in Cork, and for six weeks
we abode there, repairing the damage to our
ships and victualling for the ocean. I will record
a conversation with my lord Boyle, on a day
when we went out from the town to fly hawks
a great sport of the Irish gentlemen. He
examined me as to Sir Walter's standing with
the law, and I told him my doubts. He whistled
and pulled down his brows.
" 'Tis an ill trick," he said, " to set a gentleman
playing with the dice loaded against him. It looks
as if His Majesty were spinning a crown with Sir
Walter, and crying for one face c I win,' and for
the other ' You lose.' If I were your Admiral,
Captain Keymis, I would think twice before I
ventured back to my native land. Unless he get
gold enough to make it worth the King's while
176 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
to pardon him, he will be held scapegoat for
every blunder in the last ten years. I hear he
holds the King of France's commission. Let him
take foreign service, as other honest men have
done before him. I have risked money in the
Guiana venture, but I would lose my share a
thousand times ere I would see Sir Walter come
I have treasured these words in my mind, but
I have not yet found an occasion to tell the
From Cork we sailed south to the Grand
Canaries, and had sore trouble on the road with
Cyrus Bayley, of the ship Southampton^ who seized
four French vessels, and would have plundered
them. But the Admiral sternly forbade him,
and bought from the Frenchmen what we needed
for the price of sixty-one crowns. This Bayley
was a violent, lying fellow, who deserted us at
Lancerote, and went home to spread the report
that the man who had restrained him from piracy
was himself a pirate.
In November we came to the shore of Guiana
and the mouth of the river Caliana. Affliction
FAIRY GOLD. 177
had pursued us over the ocean, and in the
Admiral's flagship over forty-two men had died,
including our best land-general, Captain Piggott ;
our only refiner of metals ; and that renowned
scholar Master John Talbot. Sir Walter himself
was sick of a fever for a full month, and would
doubtless have died but for the fruit we had
shipped in the Canaries. 'Twas a voyage of
strange portents. For five days we sailed through
a hot tawny mist, and off the isle of Trinidad we
witnessed a flight of fifteen rainbows, at which the
crews were put in a mortal fear. The Admiral's
sickness had set up mischief among the men, so
that they wrangled without end and took ill to
their duties. But now the portents we had seen
brought a fit of piety, and they would attend the
reading of prayers like choir-boys. I, who have
all my life sailed the seas, rate our crews but
lowly. They have not the spirit of those who
sailed with us of old, neither as seamen nor as
adventurers, being such as think more of pay
than of extending the realm of England. The
soldiers, two hundred and more, are of better
stock, and our gentlemen are of good blood and
178 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
high courage. God send we do not find a task
too hard for our strength, for we have much
rotten metal which will snap on the strain.
We lay in the bay of the Caliana for three
weeks, till the health of our ship's companies
mended. The younger men were eager to land,
looking to see gold in every rock and an Indian
or a Spanish captain behind every tree. The first
to visit us was Sir Walter's Indian, whom he
called Harry, and who had been with him some
time in the Tower. He was a chief in the
neighbourhood, and brought a great gift of new
bread, venison, and all manner of fruits, which
revived our wasted appetites. We hailed a Dutch
vessel that passed by us, and by good fortune were
thus enabled to send home those the sickest among
us, including Captain Peter Alley, who since we
left Kinsale has never moved his head from a
deadly vertigo. . . .
The expedition to the Mine has now been
determined on. The Admiral is still so weak
that he can scarce walk unaided ; at any time
the wind blows from the land his fever rages.
Beside, there is the peril of the Spanish fleet,
FAIRY GOLD. 179
which we hear has been despatched from Cadiz :
and the Captains are unwilling to venture up the
Orinoko unless he remain to guard the river
mouth. The Lieutenant -General, Sir Warham
St. Leger, is also sick of a dropsy, so it is resolved
that both he and the Admiral shall wait behind
with the heavy vessels to keep watch in the rear
of the expedition. It is further resolved to take
the five ships of least draught, and embark in
them a force of four hundred sailors and soldiers.
These five ships are to be commanded by Captains
Whitney, King, Smith, Wollaston, and Hall. Cap-
tain George Raleigh, the Admiral's nephew, leads
the land force, and to myself is intrusted the
search for the Mine. . . .
I am burdened with the cares of my charge,
and yet I am in good hope of a fortunate issue.
When I landed first in Guiana there were no
Spaniards on the river bank. But now a new
city hath been built, San Thome by name,
which stands where the river Caroni enters the
Orinoko. Of this project I heard when I jour-
neyed thither in the year 1596, the year after
Sir Walter's visit. But the Mine which had then
i8o SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
been showed me by the Indians is thirty miles
and more down stream, and but eight miles from
the Orinoko bank, on a lesser river by name the
Cumaca, and close against the mountain Iconuri.
I have little fear of a Spanish attack, unless news
sent from Madrid has caused them to guard all the
waterways of the country. Sir Walter is earnest
with me, for a good reason which I can well
perceive, not to engage with the Spaniards save in
the last extremity. He bade me camp between
the Mine and San Thome, so that the soldiers
could cover the vessels in the case of a sally
from the town. He warned me expressly to risk
no pitched battle with the Spaniards. " For,
Thomas," he said, " a few gentlemen excepted,
what a scum of men you have ! And I would
not, for all the world, receive a blow from the
Spanish to the dishonour of our nation." . . .
To-morrow at dawn we start, and Sir Walter
hath given me his last commands. He bade me
remember that his nephew, Captain George, was
but a young man, and that he relied on my
judgment. " You will find me," he said, " at
Punto Gallo, dead or alive. And if you find not
FAIRY GOLD. 181
my ships there, you will find their ashes. For
I will fire with the Galleons, if it come to ex-
tremity. But run I will never." . . .
The City of San Thome. January the Ninth, 1618.
I resume my Diurnal, but in dire despair and
black sorrow. JFor the worst of all mischances
has overtaken us. We have fought a bloody
battle with the Spaniard. We cannot come near
the Mine for the strength of our enemies. And
young Walter Raleigh, the Admiral's son, is dead.
I have little heart for the tale of our ill-
success. From the first I might have guessed
that we were dedicate to misfortune, for all our
five ships were foundered in the channels of the
Orinoko, and 'twas three weeks ere we came
together again and reached the plain country
where the Indians dwell. The first news we
had of the Spaniard was from an Indian of Assa-
pana, who told us that a new Governor, one
Diego de Acuna, had come post-haste from Spain.
The name was that of the Spanish envoy in
London, and I feared that it boded small good.
Guns were fired on the banks several days at night-
1 82 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
fall, but they did us no harm, and we believed
them the work of forest Indians, who were ever ill-
disposed. On New Year's eve, as I made my
reckoning, we were near the mouth of the stream
Cumaca, on which stood the Mine, and it was
our purpose to sail all night, and in the morning
of the New Year to land on the right bank of
the Orinoko, some fifteen miles, as we thought,
short of San Thome. But 'twas here we griev-
ously erred. For, though 'twas unknown to me,
the city had been transferred down the river to
the mouth of the Cumaca, and we sailed past its
forts unwittingly in the darkness. Thereby we
suffered the Spaniard to cut us off from the
Admiral, and nothing remained but to fight.
We landed next morning and formed a camp,
and that evening about nine we were ambuscaded
by the Spanish and thrown into confusion.
Nay, we had all been broken to pieces, had not
some twenty of our gentlemen rallied and made
a great stand. We drove the ambuscaders to-
wards the town, of whose correct situation we
were now but too well informed, and there by
the walls we found the whole Spanish force
FAIRY GOLD. 183
drawn up to greet us. Young Walter Raleigh
led the pikemen, and behind were the musketeers
under Captain George. Now it is a rule of war-
fare that the men with guns should precede those
with cold iron, that the shots may weaken the
enemy before the pikes complete his destruction.
But on this occasion all rules were forgotten, and
we thought only of how quickest to drive the
Spaniard out of the country. Around the town
was a savannah, and in the moonlight we could
see the steel headpieces of the Spanish gleaming
above the high grass. Young Walter cried out
at the sight. " Come on, my stout hearts ! ' he
cried ; " these be they who would bar England
from the West."
Then I know not what happened, for I was
with Captain George and the musketeers. I
was told that the brave lad engaged the whole
Spanish line, and fell with a dozen lance wounds
in his breast. His last words were, " On, sweet
lads ! Lord ha' mercy on me, and prosper your
enterprise ! ' When the pikemen saw him dead
they were maddened to fury, and ere the mus-
keteers joined them had overthrown the Spanish
184 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
army. They slaughtered grimly and quietly,
and Captain Cosmor with his own hand killed
the Spanish Governor. Some fled into the
town to the Monastery of Saint Francis, and
these we slew, till by daylight there were no
fighting men alive save such as had fled in boats
to the river island of La Ceyva.
My first thought was joy, for I perceived that
we had taken the chief Spanish fort in the coun-
tryside. But next day, when I had taken counsel
of Captain George, my mind changed to a great
gloom. For there were we embroiled with
Spain before we had proved the Mine, and if we
failed in the latter enterprise we should be held
no better than pirates. Above all, we had lost the
Admiral's son, who was a most noble and gallant
youth and the apple of his father's eye. My despair
was increased when I found a parcel of papers in
the Governor's house, and among them the plans
of our voyage, which had been sent by King James
to the King of Spain. Then I perceived very
clearly that the words of my lord Boyle were true,
and that, whatever befell, in England we should
be accounted malefactors. What profit would be
FAIRY GOLD. 185
a basket or two of rich ore when we were a
foredoomed sacrifice to ensure Spanish friend-
We buried young Walter near the high altar
in the church of San Thome, and in the same
grave laid Captain Cosmor him who had slain
the Governor and had fallen later from a chance
musket shot. Then I sat down and wrote a
letter to the Admiral at Punto Gallo, setting
forth my sad intelligence, and likewise for-
warding to him the papers I had found in San
Thome. . . .
Meantime we are suffering much from sick-
ness and famine. The Spaniards hold all the
neighbourhood, and from the isle of La Ceyva
they send out expeditions which cut off any
Englishman who ventures abroad. The rabble
of our men are ill-disposed, and but for the
compulsion of the gentlemen among us would
flee down the river or submit to the enemy.
Would to God we had a hundred of the stout
Devon lads who sailed with us twenty years past !
Our single slender hope is the Mine, and I know
not how to get to it. ...
1 86 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
"January the Seventeenth.
Our case grows daily more desperate. Seven
days ago I equipped two boats, and with Sir
John Hampden and a matter of forty soldiers and
miners, set out up the river Cumaca for the
Mine of which I knew. Our men were in bad
heart, for they saw a Spaniard behind every bush,
and were weak with the heat and the low feed-
ing and the rotten water. When I had travelled
this way before, it had been through friendly
country where no ambuscade was feared, there-
fore I had not marked the land with the care
which a soldier gives to a hostile territory. I
purposed to keep to the river till the Mine was
reached, and then fortify a camp to dig for ore.
By starting in the dusk of early morning I
thought that we should escape the notice of the
Spanish on the isle of La Ceyva.
But some traitor had told our plans, and ere
we reached the isle their boats ran out from the
shore and opened a brisk fire so that nine of
those in the first of our boats were wounded or
slain outright. At this they fell into a panic,
FAIRY GOLD. 187
and cried to be led back ; and as we had no guess
at the number of the foe, myself and Sir John
resolved to return to the town for a larger force.
But when we with difficulty reached San Thome,
Captain George Raleigh was urgent with us to
let the project sleep. I laboured to make him
understand that in the Mine lay our sole chance
of salvation. He replied that, having fallen out
with Spain, there was no hope of mining, but
the most we could do was to push on up the
Orinoko to get Indian allies.
He left me yesterday, taking all the boats and
a hundred men. So low have we fallen from
death and the taking of prisoners, that I have
scarce a hundred remaining to hold the town. I
dare not leave the walls, for we are hourly
attacked, and since many of our fellows are light-
headed from sickness and stray beyond the de-
fences we lose men at every assault. God help
the poor souls who fall into Spanish hands, for
they will suffer the torture which I have seen long
ago on the Main ! I have warned them of these
terrors, but the most be such scum that they can-
not of their own will choose a manly death. . . .
1 88 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
February the Tenth.
Yesterday Captain George returned down the
river, with no news save that ten of his men
were dead of fever. It seems that the chief,
Topiawari, who loved Sir Walter, is long dead,
and the people so reduced by war that they can
show no force against the Spaniard. We in the
town have suffered in the meantime more than
flesh can bear. No man dared sleep, for at
all hours our enemies beset us. They made a
cross in the sight of the walls and crucified
thereon two of our sailors, so that we were beside
ourselves with panic and sick with fury. We
could not attack them, for they were everywhere
in the savannah, lurking among trees and holes ;
but our weak defence was but too easy a target
for their enterprise. By God's grace we have
held the city, but I have now scarce ninety men,
and these the weakest and most knavish of the
crews. . . .
We have held a council, and are of a mind
to return. Captain George says he cannot hold
his men, and Lord knows my fellows would break
at the first chance. I am tormented by thoughts
of the Mine, for from my window I can see the
Mount Iconuri as near as Richmond Hill to
Wapping. I need but a basketful of ore to give
a colour to our honesty ; but 'tis as remote as
if 'twere Manoa itself. We are resolved to fire
the town, and, carrying what spoil we have got,
to hasten down the river to the ships at Punto
Gallo. Even now we are piling grass and pre-
paring torches. I know not how to face my
Admiral, whom I fear I have foully betrayed.
Yet I have done my utmost, though the issue is
vanity. Would to God I had laid my bones by
young Walter, for I foresee no peace for me on
earth. . . .
Off Punto Gallo in the Isle of Trinidad. March
I am an old voyager, but I think my ventures
are over. Yesterday at nightfall we reached the
Admiral's ship, and found Sir Walter so aged by
fever and sorrow for his son that I had scarcely
known him. There were black looks and bitter
words as I went on board the Destiny^ for the
1 9 o SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
tale of my failure had spread, and all men blamed
me as the author of the expedition and its chief
destroyer. Little I cared so long as I had the
heart of my master. But Sir Walter received
me with strange glances and a face of death.
" Where is the gold," he says, " with the
promise of which I have bought my life ? Where
is the gold you boasted of, Thomas ? '
I stammered my tale, but he scarce listened.
" 'Twas fairy gold," he said, with dreamy
eyes. " We have both been to the rainbow's
end, I fear. But I trusted in you, Thomas, and
now there is no salvation. Cerberus with a
hundred heads waits me, and I have nothing to
stop his mouth."
All this he said so gently that it broke my
heart. I fell to weeping, and dropped on my
knees by his feet. When I looked up his face
had turned to wrath.
" You let my son be slain," he said. " After
that, what mattered it how many fell ? Though
it had cost you a hundred men to take the Mine,
'twas your plain business. Make me no excuses,
Captain Keymis. You have failed miserably in
FAIRY GOLD. 191
your duty, and must now answer to His Majesty
and the Council. God wots I have enough on
my shoulders without taking the burden of your
cowardice. . . ."
I came back to my cabin with a dizzy head.
I prayed that his anger would last, for 'twas less
terrible than his sorrow. All evening I sat
writing a letter to my lord Arundel, setting forth
my case, for he was a chief promoter of the
Expedition. Food I have not eaten for three
days, but I thirst exceedingly. . . .
This morning I have taken the letter to the
Admiral to seek his approval. But he would
have none of it. " I pardon all things," he said,
" to him who serves faithfully ; but you have
betrayed me. You must bear the burden of your
treason alone, for I will have no share in it."
Then he turned away, and when I asked if this
were his fixed resolution, he said he should have
Then my mind filled with a great clearness. I
saw that I had erred, and that in a desperate
venture I had been too little desperate. I thanked
God for his anger, which was merciful and right,
1 92 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
for had he been kind and sorrowful I should have
been tortured beyond human bearing. I told
him that I saw my folly, and knew what course
to take. " I have sinned," I said, " and welcome
my punishment. But I claim a boon for old
fellowship's sake. Grant me your forgiveness,
that I sleep easy."
" I forgive you," he said in a weary voice. " I
cannot cherish resentment, for I have no heart
left in me."
# # * # #
I am lodged in my former cabin in the Destiny.
Above my couch there hangs a picture of the
Magdalen which Sir Walter gave me, for he
loved to take pictures with him on his voyages.
Even as Christ was merciful to that sinner, so I
pray now His mercy on me.
There is no other way of it. I must run to
port. If I die all men will blame me, and haply
some of the load will shift from Sir Walter's
shoulders ; whereas if I live and return to England,
I will but confuse matters ; for I have a foolish
tongue and small discretion, as was seen long ago
in Lord Cobham's business. I am an old hulk,
FAIRY GOLD. 193
now these fifty years at sea, and 'tis time I found
I write these words more especially for the eye
of Sir Walter, who will find them at my death.
I have followed him through good and evil for-
tune ; and now, to my grief, am the innocent
cause of his undoing. God made me a frail man,
full of fancies and prone to foolish confidence.
But I have ever been loyal in heart to the greatest
Captain I ever served, and I ask no boon of
God but that He deliver him from his dis-
tresses, and forgive the manner of my death,
seeing that my purpose is honest. I have no
kith nor kin. For my fame I care not, but I
would pray Sir Walter to think of me as I was
in the days when we first adventured in Guiana.
I say no more. Last year's nest is empty, as the
Spaniards say. . . .
Lest any man be suspect, I write that I die
by my own hand by pistol, if the powder be not
damp, or by my Turk's dagger. The pistol Sir
Walter gave to me long ago. . . .
THE KING'S PATH.
" Go, Soul, the body's guest,
Upon a thankless errand :
Fear not to touch the best ;
The truth shall be thy warrant :
Go, since I needs must die,
And give the world the lie.
Tell men of high condition,
That manage the estate,
Their purpose is ambition,
Their practice only hate :
And if they once reply,
Then give them all the lie.
. . .
Tell fortune of her blindness ;
Tell nature of decay ;
Tell friendship of unkindness ;
Tell justice of delay :
And if they will reply,
Then give them all the lie."
SiR WALTER RALEIGH.
~ > x Wi.'-AS;.^ "*<*' <
. . ' "C . . ^w^V - V T ' s
. m ? ^;^*-
m-M^m^ -m *
-a.-^l ^ - M v> : : l
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f~> ' f NO
TILD- h NDATI
THE KING'S PATH.*
. . . T HAVE never seen such a crew of pitiful
mean rascals. The most had the visages
of dockyard rats, and souls as ill-favoured as their
skins. They had come out for lust of gold, and
thought only that their pockets were empty,
though God knows 'twas their own cowardly
and rebellious spirits that made them so. I mind
when we lay at Punto Gallo there was a page-
boy spread a tale that Sir Walter's cabin was
full of money. Presently some of my fine gallows-
birds conspired to set the Admiral ashore and sail
off with his flagship and his treasure ; and, being
of so weak a spirit, came crawling to me to seek
my leadership. I drew my sword, and with the
* From the notes of the Frenchman, Jacques Pommerol, who afterwards
forsook the sea, settled at Louvaine, and wrote an epic in the classic manner
on his adventures, which he called the Jacquesiade.
196 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
flat of it gave them a mighty lesson, and then
with the point of it drove them forthwith to the
Admiral, and discovered to him their treason.
Figure to yourself the situation of a gentleman
in such knavish company !
You must know that, with Captain Keymis
dead and half our force destroyed, we had given
up hope of success in Guiana, though the Admiral
was still hot for a return to San Thome, whence
he promised to bring a load of gold or leave his
body by his son's. His captains looked coldly
at the project, and some of the baser sort were all
for remaining in the islands, and overhauling
Spanish ships from the Main. Piracy is but a
dirty trade, but I held this to be no piracy but
lawful war, seeing that Spain has ever treated all
English voyagers as trespassers worthy of a felon's
death. 'Tis idle, I held, to prate of peace when
there is no peace, and in the Indian Seas there is
never aught but war. Had I followed my own
will I would have favoured this enterprise, but
Sir Walter was set against it, and I had no mind
to cross his purpose. So I opposed the designs
of the captains, and warned the Admiral that
THE KING'S PATH. 197
mutiny was in the air. But the boldest com-
mander on earth cannot hold a flotilla of rebels,
and at the isle of Granada the captains Whitney
and Wollaston sailed away on their own errands.
I have heard no more of them. I trust their
traitorous bodies have long ago decked a gibbet
We purposed at first to make Sir Walter's
colony of Virginia, to victual our ships and rest
our men, with the notion of seeking Guiana
again next year. But the temper of the crews
was such that, had we landed at Virginia, they
would have fled to the woods or joined the cor-
sarios that frequent these coasts. Presently Sir
Walter, whose mind moved slow from his great
sorrow, came round to another opinion, and at a
council of war which I attended as chief of the
soldiers during Captain George Raleigh's illness
it was resolved to sail for home. We stayed
awhile at St. Christopher's Island, while the
Admiral wrote letters to the King. These he
sent home in his fly-boat by means of his cousin,
Master Herbert, and with him he despatched the
idlest and most rebellious of the crews. Had I
SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
been Master Herbert I would have feared for my
throat in the company of such a rabble. But it
seems that God favoured gallantry, for I have
heard that he reached England in safety.
You must know that we hourly expected news
of the Spanish galleons, which had been sent out
to take us captive. Our captains were in great
terror of falling into their hands, for they had
some knowledge of the tender mercies of Spain,
and we had no more than four ships. Had we
sailed the straight course for home, it was feared
we should meet with this fleet or other Spanish
ships of war, and we were in no mettle for fight-
ing. Sir Walter advised that we make our
course due north by the isle called New Found
Land, from which there is a way to England
over a narrower ocean. When we sailed from
St. Christopher's our fleet was the Admiral's
Destiny, on which I sailed with the best part of
the fighting men, while Sir John Ferme, Captain
Pennington, and Captain King had the other
ships in charge. I thought ill of these captains,
save only King, who was an old lieutenant of Sir
Walter's and a stubborn, honest, rough fellow.
THE KING'S PATH. 199
We saw little of our consorts, for off the coasts
of Virginia we came into a nest of storms, and
were sore delayed for more than a fortnight.
By the first days of May we were well into the
northern seas, where the winds cut like sword-
blades and the mist would wrap us round in chilly
garments. Those who had sailed this way before
were in mortal fear of floating ice, which comes
down from the Pole, and has wrecked ere this
many a goodly ship. Half of us were ill of the
scurvy, and, though the sharp air had cured us of
the common fever, we were taken with fits of
ague and rheum so that scarce one man was free
of sickness. In my day I have seen many com-
panies of broken men, but never have I beheld a
crew so desponding and weary as sailed with us
those wintry waters. Ill-fortune takes the steel
from a man's heart, and that rabble of ours were
but yeast and mire. First they moped and
despaired, and then they threatened, so that soon
every man had a dark countenance and murder
in his eyes. Meantime in his own cabin the
Admiral sat alone with his grievous thoughts.
One day I sought him and bade him be wary.
200 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
" There are those here," I said, " who bear you
little love. You may find a knife in your back
some fine morning."
'Twould be welcome," he said wearily.
Do you think I have any room left for fear,
when I have buried my all ? As well a ship-
man's knife as any other ending."
" Nevertheless you are our Captain," said I,
" and if you fall 'twill go hard with my honest self
and a score of lads who trust their lives to me."
" Then take the lead," he answered. " I am
no better than a passenger. Sail where you
please, my good Jacques, so long as you leave me
alone." And he turned wearily away.
The Admiral had long cast a spell over me, so
that I loved and reverenced him. But now
God's hand was heavy upon him, and I was fain
to ease his burden. With his consent. I took
upon myself the captaincy, and I promise you I
brought that rabble into some order. There
were twenty lads who had fought by my side in
the Low Countries, and with their aid I kept a
fair discipline. I could see anger and scowling
wherever I went, till soon I fancied that a sea-
THE KING'S PATH. 201
man's knife was more likely to find my back than
One night as I sat alone at supper for Captain
George was still sick, and Sir Walter supped alone
a page-boy came down the ladder as though the
Devil were at his heels. He bumped heavily on
the floor, and when I picked him up showed a
face like a dish-clout.
" Mutiny ! ' he cries. " They are cutting
throats in the fo'c's'le. The men have got at the
muskets, and are fighting for the powder-barrels."
It took me no longer than a breath to spring up
the ladder and run down the deck to the forepart
of the ship. We were rolling heavily, and I near
broke my head on the bulwarks. I heard no
shots, but from the fo'c's'le came the murmur of
men in close and deadly conflict. I had rather
hear a yelling like wild cats than that desperate
A fellow had been set with a musket to guard
the fo'c's'le ladder. There was but the one thing
to do. I jumped clean down the steps, alighting
plump on his shoulders, and knocking man and
musket endways. In a second I was on my feet,
202 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
roaring to the dogs to lay down their arms. I
saw what I had feared. Some half-dozen of my
lads were pinned in a corner where a door led to
the powder store, and against them was a great
press of seamen fighting desperately with dirks to
win an entrance.
My shouts won a moment's respite. A dozen
faces turned on me, their eyes bright with panic
and murder. Then I reflected that I had no sort
"Every dog to his place !" I roared. "I have
a gunner now standing by the powder. In
three minutes, if I forbid him not, he will
blow this ship and all in it to the skies. I
care little for death, but the sight of you will
cheer the Devil."
They believed me, or at any rate the resolution
in my voice awed them. The press slackened,
and I tore men out of it till my fellows could
breathe. Help was on the way, for I saw the
ladder-hole filling with my men-at-arms. I was
half stifled, but by dint of much buffeting I got
the mob separated, and presently had the muskets
and knives from their hands.
THE KING'S PATH. 203
The worst I had pinioned and set soldiers to
" Now," said I, " I am about to hold an
inquisition. You will assemble on deck, and I
will have the truth of this conduct."
I had them drawn up by the foremast, the
leaders in my soldiers' charge, and the others, a
sullen crowd, huddled against the bulwarks. A
pale moon shone from a watery sky, and ever
and anon a wrack of cloud would darken the
heavens. A lantern swung from a nail on the
mast, flickering with every gust. I sat down
on a barrel with a pistol on my knees. " Now
for the meaning of this treason," said I.
At first no man spoke. Then, when I promised
hanging, a fellow found his voice. He had an
honest, foolish face, and I had marvelled to find
him in the business.
" We fear to go back," he said gruffly. " Some
of us have fallen out with the law, and if
we land in England will march straight to the
" Ay, I can well believe it," I said. " And to
your former ill deeds you have added mutiny on
2o 4 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
the high seas, for which hanging is too easy a
The fellow was still resolute. " We came out
to Guiana in hope of gold, and gold meant par-
don. But we have no gold, so we look to save
our necks. It is but human nature, master."
" How many of you be gallows-birds ? ' I
It seemed there was a round dozen, and their
crimes were pitifully small. One had stolen
beyond the value of forty shillings. Another
had lain in Exeter jail for cattle-lifting, and had
broken prison the night before his hanging. One
had fired the stacks of an enemy ; one had slain
an innkeeper in a brawl ; while still another had
beaten a King's Justice for old scores. My heart
warmed to such trivial malefactors.
" If that be your grievance, lads," I said, " I
can promise that it will be mended. The Ad-
miral will land you in Ireland, that you may be
out of the King's danger. I have no love for
the laws that oppress the poor and let the rich
go free. Keep your minds easy. But, touching
this late conduct of yours, you will go on bread
THE KING'S PATH. 205
and water for five days. And those who incited
it will have twenty lashes apiece. To your
quarters ! >:
But no man moved, and I could see by their
eyes 'twas no common mutiny. The same fellow
spake again :
"Your pardon, sir, but we have not showed
all that is in our hearts. We would save our
own necks, but there is another neck in deadly
peril. Whatever our danger from the law, the
Admiral's is tenfold greater ; at least so folks say.
He is going home to death. We would restrain
Then I cursed them roundly, for venturing to
lay their idle tongues to Sir Walter's name. I
banned them up and down the skies for presum-
ing to interfere with their betters. But the same
thought had always been in my own head, and I
was amazed to find so much reason in the swabs.
The man never winced, but looked at me with
honest, dog-like eyes.
" Presumption or no, master, it is death for
Sir Walter, and we of this ship would save him.
We know him for a good captain, and would
206 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
plead with him and keep him out of England
He hath many crows to pluck with the Dons,
and here is the whole ocean for the plucking.
We think as how he can serve England better by
keeping the high seas than by putting his neck
under the King's girdle."
I told them I had heard enough, and sent them
packing. But the fear of those tarry-souled
knaves had infected my own thoughts. I went
to Sir Walter's cabin, but found him asleep. As
I knew that of late he had slept little, I had not
the heart to wake him, but retired to my own
quarters and meditated till the small hours.
Next morning we were come into a pleasant
sea, with the sun shining and a favouring west
wind. I went to the Admiral and found him on
deck sniffing the breeze the first time for days
that he had been forth of his cabin. He faced
me with a brisker countenance and gave me a
" Last night I slept," he said. " For a little I
contrived to forget, and this morning I am the
better for it. You look grey about the eyelids s
THE KING'S PATH. 207
" I have cause," said I. " Last night, while
you slept, I was quelling a mutiny. . . . Nay,
nay, sir, do not mistake. I have no hurts.
'Twas an innocent and weakly rising. We carry
some gallows-birds aboard, and they feared to land
in England. In your name I promised them
the boon of Irish soil. But they pled for more
than themselves, for there is a kind of decency in
the rascals. They are mortally concerned about
their Admiral's fate."
Raleigh looked far out to sea. " There is a
magnanimity about salt water," he said. " It
tinctures very sorry knaves with kindliness. And
what would they have me do ? '
" Like them, evade England. I think they
would have you turn pirate, that you may get
back from the galleons something of what Spain
has cost you."
" And your thoughts, good Jacques ? ' he
" Oh, as for me, I think piracy a sorry trade,
but under your flag 'twould be fair and equal
war. I have pondered the matter during the
night watches, and this is my counsel. You are
2o8 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
too great a leader to waste on the scurvy tribe of
your ill-wishers. You hold the commission of
my good master, the King of France. I will
steer you to a French port, where you will be
nobly welcome. A way will be found to repay
all who have embarked their substance in this
venture. Then, sir, you and I will take the sea
in a King's ship, and with us will go the best
blood of France and England. 'Fore God, we
will harry Spain till no galleon dare put its nose
outside Cadiz Bay."
" And this is your considered counsel, Master
Jacques ? ' he asked.
" My considered counsel, sir," I said.
He walked a few paces up the deck, his chin
on his breast. Then he laid an arm about my
" Tis not mine," he said. " You tempt me,
good friend, but more by your loyalty than your
designs. 'Twould be a heartsome task to sail the
seas with you and twenty honest gentlemen. I
am not so old but my blood stirs at the thought.
We should make a gallant company, Master
Jacques you and nephew George, and Jack
THE KING'S PATH. 209
Carew, and a dozen of your Breton sea-dogs. We
should harry the Dons and be outlawed by every
Court in Europe. Nay, we might restore that
old warfare between Spain and England, without
which there can be no lasting peace. But 'tis a
boy's dream. For, mark you, I have left some-
thing very precious behind me in England which
I must ransom."
I looked my bewilderment.
" My good fame," he said. " I have ever
faced my destiny. You would not have me run
from it at the last. Look you, I have stood
before all England for something which is half
forgotten. I have preached the Gospel of an
Ocean empire and of plantations in the West.
I have urged that if England is to stand high in
Europe she must fight her battles overseas. Of
late few have heeded me. I was like an owl
hooting in the churchyard among things dead
and moss-grown. But this expedition hath
wrought a change. The eyes of England
are again upon me. Had I won, the King
and his Council would have swung round with
the new tide. But I have failed, you say.
2io SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
Ay, but there is hope for my gospel, if none
I began to see light in his argument.
"What would become of it," he asked, "if I
fled the land ? ' Raleigh,' all would say, c is
turned pirate and Frenchman.' They would not
blame me, but to England I would be as dead.
I would have shrunk from my last duty, and
God does not prosper a coward."
" But, sir," I said, " if they slay you, what
becomes of your high plans ? '
He smiled in his odd, subtle way, his eyes
looking far into some untravelled country.
" They will flourish, for my blood will water
them. Sanguis martyrum semen imperil. These
last days I have been reading in Plutarch of
Julius Cssar, and find much comfort. For mark
what Julius did. He built the Empire of Rome,
but the Empire would not have endured but for
his death. 'Twas Brutus' dagger that sealed the
work. I have often a fancy that the great
Julius knew of the plot and welcomed it, for he
believed that such a structure must be baptized
with the blood of the builder."
THE KING'S PATH. 211
" You choose death, then, of your free will ? '
said I. " I am an old campaigner and have
often faced it, but God knows I have not the
heart to walk to it with so calm an eye."
He smiled sadly. " Your flattery is ill-placed.
I have nothing to live for but my dreams. I
have buried my dear son, and for my wife I can
best save the poor relics of my fortunes by
returning home. My old companions are all
dead and forgotten. I have only dreams to
furnish my bare house of life, and for those
dreams I must spend what remains to me."
I could have wept at his words, but 'twas not
for me to frustrate so high a nobility.
" Will you tell the crews ? ' I asked hoarsely.
" They are in an ill temper, and will heed only
A trumpet blew the assembly, and yesternight's
mutineers, besides my loyal fighting-men, gathered
below the poop. Raleigh stood by the rudder,
looking cheerfully as if he had a pleasant tale to
" Dear hearts," he said, " it has been told me
that you are concerned about the future. Fear
212 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
not, for I will land no man in England against
his will. Those who desire it I will put ashore
in Ireland with some provision for their suste-
nance. It has been told me also that you grieve
for the fate of your Admiral, and would have me
keep the seas or seek a French port. Your
charity stirs me greatly, but you waste your pity.
I have nothing left to me but my honour, and I
go to redeem it. Think me not boastful, but I
hold death as no more than a thistle's down, if
thereby I can come to my desire. If they slay
me, England will think the better of me, and in
a hundred years men's minds will turn to my
thoughts, and see their worthiness. Fear not for
me, brave lads. 'Tis for England's sake and her
unborn people's that I must return. You would
not hinder me from so great a joy ? '
There was no answer from the crews, but there
were few dry eyes among them. And these
were the fellows who twelve hours before would
have flung us both into the sea ! . . .
THE LAST VENTURE.
*' Give me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to rest upon,
My scrip of joy, immortal diet,
My bottle of salvation,
My gown of glory, hope's true gage ;
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.
Blood must be my body's balmer ;
No other balm will there be given ;
Whilst my soul like quiet palmer,
. Travelleth towards the land of heaven ;
Over the silver mountains,
Where spring the nectar fountains :
There will I kiss
The bowl of bliss ;
And drink mine everlasting fill
Upon every milken hill.
My soul will be a-dry before ;
But after, it will thirst no more."
SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
THE LAST VENTURE.*
... I WAS sore delayed on the road, owing to
the mires about Winchester, and it was
the morning of Thursday, October the 2 8th,
before I arrived in London. I went straight to
my lady Raleigh's lodgings in Broad Street,
that I might comfort my dear cousin. On the
way I had heard the issue of the trial, and how
Sir Walter was to be executed the next morning.
'Twas no surprise, for His Majesty had resolved
at all costs on friendship with Spain, and the
voice of Count Gondomar had more authority
than any Englishman's. But so slender was the
case that the Court dare not condemn him for
his Guiana voyage, seeing that if he had shed
* Francis Champernoun wrote this chapter and the one following, and left
them as a bequest to his children. A hundred years afterwards the Reverend
Launcelot Matthews incorporated, by permission of the family, certain passages
from the narrative in his Itincrarium Devonice.
214 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
Spanish blood 'twas because his journey was
opposed, and all England held that Spain had
no better title to Guiana than to Kent. So they
fell back upon the old trial, fifteen years before,
and he was judged to die by reason of his share
in Cobham's plot. I leave future ages to approve
the honesty of such a course. Sir Walter was to
perish that Spain might be appeased, but the
charge on which he fell was that once he had been
too good a friend to Spain ! I envy not the con-
science of those who compassed this pitiful folly.
I found my cousin Bess sore shrunken with
grief, but sustained by that great heart which
for twenty years of stress had never failed her.
She had lived so long in suspense that the worst
was no new thing, and she bore it as one who
has ever been an intimate of sorrow. My lady
Astley was with her, the wife of the lieutenant
of the Tower, who had been a good friend
to Sir Walter in those last days. 'Twas her
daughter Lucy that became the wife of that
noted soldier, Colonel Hutchinson, who in after
years held Nottingham Castle against King
THE LAST VENTURE. 215
In the evening Sir Walter was brought to the
Gate-house of St. Peter at Westminster, and Bess
and I set out to visit him. 'Twas a rainy night,
and round the gateway stood a press of citizens,
eager to have news of the prisoner, for he was
dearly loved by the common folk. Heads were
bared as Bess entered, and there were cries of
wrath and regret. " Bid Sir Walter be of good
cheer," one fellow whispered ; " for he leaves a
name that will never be wiped out of English
To my amazement, we found him seated amid
a group of friends, cheerfully taking tobacco.
His countenance these latter years had been
often heavy and his eye wild and restless. But
now 'twas as if some kind hand had smoothed
the lines from his brow. He seemed younger
than he had looked since I saw him enter
London after his Cadiz fight. His eye was mild
and peaceful, but grave, as became one on the
threshold of eternity. Yet as he set a chair for
his wife there was merriment in it.
" There is scant room for the spectators at
to-morrow's play," he said. "I have been warn-
216 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
ing Sir Hugh to come in good time if he would
make sure of a place. I alone need have no
fears on that score."
But when he saw my clouded brow he patted
me on the shoulder and bade me be cheerful.
" Grieve not for me, Francis," he said.
" What is this world but a larger prison, out
of which some are daily chosen for execution ?
I am the fortunate one to die with my good
friends around me. It might have been in a
Guiana swamp or in some gale of the Ocean,
where I would have had scant time to think of
Francis Thyn, my cousin, who did not cease
to weep with his head in his hands, counselled
him not to carry himself with too much bravery.
" Your enemies have ever accused you of pride,"
he said, " and it is seemly to go to God with a
Sir Walter laughed. " Fear not, dear cousin.
I am merry because I have little to sorrow for.
Of late I am the less fit for labour, and I wel-
come Death, which gives me rest. 'Tis my last
mirth ; do not grudge it me. I grieve to part
THE LAST VENTURE. 217
from you, my true wife and my true comrades,
but it must not be said that Raleigh feared what
he so often dared. I would have England see me
go joyfully to my end, that she may honour the
faith that can support a man both in life and
death. 'Tis my testament, dear lad, the little
all I have to leave."
Wine was brought, and he pledged us in a
cup. "To the Indies," he drank, "which the
English shall yet possess ! To the brave fellows
who will yet sail to the West with better fortunes
than me ! "
Then he asked that all should leave him, save
Bess and me and Doctor Tounson, the Dean of
Westminster, whom the Council had appointed
to attend him. The Dean inquired into his
spiritual state. He answered with reverence,
saying that he was persuaded that no man
that loved God and feared Him could die
with cheerfulness and courage, except he were
assured of God's love and favour. I have never
seen a resolution so calm and heavenly. The
Dean would have encouraged him against the
fear of death, but Sir Walter answered that he
2i 8 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
had no fear. " The manner of my death," he
said, " may seem grievous to others, but for
myself I would rather die so than of a burning
fever. My soul will be my own till the steel
falls." Then he gave to the Dean his Bible to
keep as a remembrance. In it he had written
some lines which I transcribe :
" Even such is time, that takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust ;
Who in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days !
But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
The Lord shall raise me up, I trust."
After this Doctor Tounson left, and he was
alone with Bess and me. He embraced his wife,
stroking her hair, and saying that to leave her
was the only bitterness of death. I mind that
she wept sore, a thing I had not marked before
in her, for she was a woman of great strength of
soul. " For thirty years, dear heart," he said,
" you have been my true comrade, and have ever
sweetened my sorrows and doubled my joys. I
have so ordered things that you may live out the
days yet left to you in a little ease, and Francis
THE LAST VENTURE. 219
will guide your small estate well. I leave you
the charge of our son, and the care of my
memory. Be not lonely, dear wife, for God's
good angels will be near you, and in a little time
we will be joined in Paradise."
I was too moved to take note of what followed,
but I mind that she asked him if he had any
other words for her. He said that on the
morrow he would speak from the scaffold to
all England, touching the cause for which he
died, but to her he needed no defence. Then
he remembered something about an Irish debt
which he bade me discharge, and he besought
me to do something for the memory of Captain
Keymis. His one regret was that he had used
harsh speech to him on the Guiana voyage, and
he would fain have undone it.
The hour of twelve struck from St. Peter's
clock, and Bess declared that he must rest. Her
tears broke out afresh at the parting, and she told
him that she had leave to bury his body. " It
is well, dear Bess," he said, smiling, " that thou
mayst dispose of that dead which thou hadst
not always the disposing of when alive." And
220 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
when she had almost swooned, he held her in
his arms and bade her show her courage to the last.
" 'Tis no true parting, sweet lass," he said, "for the
living and the dead are alike in God's keeping."
But I think his philosophy was near breaking.
For as I led her out of the chamber, he looked
after her with anguished eyes, as knowing that
he would never see her again on earth.
I left Bess with my lady Astley praying by her
side, and reached the Gate-house by seven o'clock
of a raw autumn morn. I had a warrant from
the Council for admission, and found Sir Walter
busy with his dressing. He had donned his
richest suit, for, as he said, he would not dress
less nobly for death than for a bridal. He wore,
I remember, a yellow satin doublet and breeches
of black taffeta and silk stockings, and over all
a black wrought velvet night-gown. Likewise
on account of his ague he had a laced skull-cap.
He ate a hearty breakfast, and smoked a pipe
of tobacco, as if he were at Sherborne with a
summer's day before him and no more care than
the ordering of his gardens.
THE LAST VENTURE. 221
About the hour of nine the Sheriffs and their
men arrived, and bade him make ready to attend
them. The jailer of the Gate-house, who loved
him deeply, brought a cup of hot sack against
the chill of the morning. He drank it gladly,
and when asked if it were to his liking, he said :
"I will answer you as did the fellow who drank
of St. Giles' bowl as he went to Tyburn : ' 'Tis
good drink,' he said, * if a man might but tarry
by it.' Then he bade me farewell, kissing me
on both cheeks ; and with a great beating of
drums he was gone.
I had a seat provided in Sir Randolph Carew's
balcony, but I chose rather to join the press
around the scaffold, that I might be near to
Sir Walter at the end. There was a mighty
crowd of folk, among whom I saw old sailormen
and grim bronzed fellows from the ports, whose
mouths were set sternly as if to choke back tears.
Far off from Citywards came the jangling of bells,
for 'twas the day of the Lord Mayor's procession ;
but that must have been an empty show, for near
all London was assembled in Palace Yard, and
the barriers which had been built were swept
222 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
away like sandhills by the tide. The scaffold
was close in front of the Parliament House,
where Sir Walter had once his seat. A fire
burned by it for the Sheriffs to warm themselves
at, and as he mounted the steps, Sir Walter held
his hands to the blaze. The ague was ever on
him, and I knew that he feared lest a fit should
take him and choke his utterance.
My lords Northampton and Doncaster and
Arundel, who had found monies for the Guiana
voyage, ascended the scaffold and shook Raleigh's
hand. I remember that in the crowd that
pressed about its foot there was an old man with
a bald head. Sir Walter noted him, and asked
why he had ventured out on such a morning.
" For no reason," said the old man, " but to see
you and pray God for you." Whereupon Sir
Walter took his laced cap from his head and
flung it to him. " Take it, my friend," he cried,
" for you need it now more than I." The fellow
received it gladly, but did not don it. He folded
it reverently and placed it in his bosom.
Then Raleigh began to speak. At first his
voice was hoarse with the cold, and his face wan
THE LAST VENTURE. 223
and pinched like one with the ague. But as he
continued his voice cleared, his colour returned,
and once again he had the air of youth and
freedom that I remembered on the night before.
He began by thanking God that He had sent him
to die in the light before an assembly of honour-
able witnesses, and that his fever had not taken
him at the time. Then he told the story of the
Guiana voyage, and rebutted the charge of such
as thought him an intriguer with France or a
reviler of the King. " It is no time for me to
flatter or to fear princes," he said, " I who am
subject only unto Death ; yet, if I ever spake
disloyally or dishonestly of the King, the Lord
blot me out of His Book of Life ! '
He spoke of his purposes in the Guiana voyage,
and called on my lord Arundel to bear witness
that he had ever promised to return, whether he
failed or succeeded. He told how the crew of
the Destiny would fain have kept him out of
England, unless he had striven with them and
won their consent to go back. Then he spoke
of my lord Essex's death, and his voice faltered.
There were some that said he had slighted the
224 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
Earl at his execution. "Nay," he cried, "rather
I bewailed him with tears. Though I was of a
contrary faction, yet I knew well that his enemies
were my enemies, and 'twas those who did him
to death who later pulled me down."
Last, in a hush so deep that the striking of
the hour from St. Peter's Church was like the
trump of doom, he sought from all pardon
and prayers. He said : " I entreat that you will
all join with me in prayer to the great God of
Heaven, whom I have grievously offended, for I
have been a soldier, a sailor, and a courtier, which
are courses of wickedness and vice. ... I have
a long journey to take, and must bid the company
farewell. I have been a man of many ventures,
and now I embark on the last and longest. So I
take my leave of you, making my peace with
The Sheriffs bade all depart from the scaffold,
and there were left only Sir Walter, the Dean,
and the headsman. The press of the throng had
brought me close under the bars, and I could
mark every line of Raleigh's face. While all
THE LAST VENTURE. 225
men were sobered and solemnized by his words,
many weeping silently, he himself bore a bright
and cheerful countenance. I was so taken by the
sight that I forgot to sorrow. Nay, there seemed
no cause to sorrow, for the man was all radiant
and joyful, like a youth setting out on a happy
He gave his hat and some money to the
attendants who had been with him at the Gate-
house, and then prepared himself without assist-
ance for the block. He took off his gown and
doublet and bared his neck. I noticed how
brown was the upper part where the wind and
sun had beaten, and how white the lower.
'Twas like a line to guide the hand of Death.
He called for the axe, and the headsman, a
lean bowed fellow much overcome by the
occasion, fumbled and would have denied it.
Raleigh chid him. " Do you think I am a babe
to fear steel ? " he asked.
He ran his finger down the edge, and turned
to the Sheriffs with a smile. " 'Tis a sharp
medicine, but 'tis a sure cure for all diseases."
After that he went to the four corners of the
226 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
scaffold and spoke to the crowd. He asked their
pardon for what he had done amiss in life, and
besought them to remember the good and forget
the ill. " Cherish my dreams," he said. " I am
like the man in the fairy tale who dreamed true,
though he got nothing but blows for it." He
asked them to pray to God to bestow on him
strength. To my lord Arundel he said some-
thing which I could not catch, but which I
judged was a message to the King. Last, the
Dean asked him in what faith he died. He
replied that he was of the faith of the Church of
England, and hoped to have all his sins washed
away by the precious blood of our Saviour
Then I think my eyes dazzled, and I seemed
to see him larger than mortal above that multi-
tude. Save that figure on the scaffold all the
world went small. The Dean was but a bent old
man, with silly eyes. The headsman and the
Sheriffs were things of straw and tinsel. The
Lords in the balconies were hollow creatures, all
fearful and craven. The great throng was made
up of weary broken folk, sheep with no shepherd.
THE LAST VENTURE. 227
'Twas an assemblage of death-heads ; only Raleigh
lived ; only he was young and strong and joyful.
I was in a trance like St. Paul, and seemed to see
for one moment how Sir Walter's future fame
would rise to comfort this realm of England.
I was pressed close under the bars of the scaffold,
and by stretching my hand could almost have
touched his feet. I looked up into his face, and,
like Stephen's, it was transfigured. Aforetime
there had been a petulance in the lips and a pride
in the eye : but all was cleared, so that it
shone with good-will and the peace of God.
In a dream I heard words. The headsman
spread a cloak for him to kneel on, and besought
his pardon. Raleigh put his hand on the man's
shoulder and forgave him. Then the Dean
would have him lay his head on the block with
the face to the East. Sir Walter, smiling, asked,
" What matter how the head lies so the heart
be right ? " but he did the Dean's will. He was
offered a bandage for his eyes, which he put away.
" Think you," he asked, " that I fear the shadow
of the axe when I fear not the substance ? '
He kneeled and laid his head on the block.
228 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
and as he kneeled he cried to the people, " Give
me heartily your prayers." There was no answer,
but a sobbing like the wind in trees.
He bade the headsman strike when he should
hold forth his hands. His lips moved as if
in prayer. I had no fear or sorrow, for what
I saw seemed to me too glorious for sadness.
The signal was given, but the headsman, who
shook like an aspen, did not stir.
" Strike, man, strike ! ' cried Sir Walter.
" What dost thou fear ? ' They were his last
The blow fell, and then a second, and the
head was severed from the body. As it dropped
the lips moved, still in prayer.
Then my trance departed, and mortal sorrow
flowed over my heart. As I turned, my eyes
blind with tears, I heard the headsman's voice,
hoarse and weak as if it feared the lie " This is
the head of a traitor ! '
"A BETTER INDIES THAN THE KING
"The greatest honour that ever belonged to the greatest Monarkes was the
inlarging their Dominions, and erecting Commonweales."
CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH.
"A BETTER INDIES THAN THE KING
. . . (~)N a mild afternoon in early April we
came out of the wolds which stretch
east and west from Shaftesbury, and entered the
pleasant vale of Sherborne. Of old the manor
belonged to Sir Walter Raleigh, but now my
lord Digby had it from the King. There rode
with me my cousin Bess, whom I carried to my
house at Greenaway in Devon that she might
find there a quiet retreat after the troublous years
she had known. As we topped the hill, and saw
the meads and plantations and the shining stream
all yellow in the April sunlight, we reined up in
a sudden sorrow. I have always held Sherborne
the true march of the West Country, where
something of our mellow Devon air begins to
230 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
temper the bleak downs of Dorset. For certain
I have never seen the vale more fair than on this
afternoon. The Castle lay silent, for my lord
was ever about the Court, and was but now back
in England from Spain. But I marked the
gardens Sir Walter had planted, and especially
the terrace, where I have often walked with him
and listened to his discourse. Every stone of
the house was of his building, and every lawn
called him its creator. For myself, I choked at the
sight, and Bess wept as if her heart would break.
I bade her dismount, and gave the horses to a
groom's charge, while I led her to a little hillock
beside the highway. I was never one to chide
sorrow, for I hold that to grieve is a natural
comfort. All that day Bess had been in better
heart, full of plans for her boy Carew, and ready
to welcome the peace of Greenaway. But now,
at the sight of Sherborne, she was back among
the pitiful events of the autumn, when the
noblest head in England fell. She turned weep-
ing eyes to the gardens, where once she had
drunk her fill of happiness, and, sobbing bitterly,
she told of this and that ; how Sir Walter had
"A BETTER INDIES." 231
planned a new fish-pond, and planted a long alley
of cypress. Then she fell silent, for steps were
coming down the road.
'Twas an old, grizzled fellow, who walked
lame, as if from a long journey. He stumped
along very cheerfully, whistling an air beloved by
Devon sailors, The Almiranty of Santa Fee. He
had writ large on him the marks of the sea, in
his mahogany cheek, his clear blue eye, and the
bleached hair which comes from Tropic suns.
Such figures as his have grown scarce in these
days, and the sight of him lightened my heavi-
ness. He came abreast of us, pulled off his hat,
and would have passed on, when he looked at
Bess and stopped short of a sudden.
Bess turned her sorrowful eyes on him ; but he
never looked at her face. His gaze was fixed on
her bosom, where hung a little jewel of gold,
which Sir Walter had prized greatly, and wore
always next his heart. He stammered and took
a step forward ; then halted and stared blankly.
" The jewel ! " he muttered, " Sir Walter's
jewel ! You have the charm, my lady."
Bess rose and held out her hand.
232 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
" I wear Sir Walter's jewel, good friend, be-
cause I was once Sir Walter's wife."
At this the seaman was on his knees in the
dust, kissing her hand.
" O my lady, my lady ! ' he cried ; " I have
never clapped eyes on you before, but I was an
old seaman of Raleigh's, and he showed me that
charm in Guiana. 'Tis the charm for El Dorado,
" He has gone thither," she said, " and hath
no longer need of a charm."
I think the sight of the old sailor had braced
her to a better mood.
" True, true, mistress," he said ; " that is a
brave soul. I am old Nathan Stubbs, who
adventured with him to Guiana twenty years
ago, and fought with him at Cadiz and in the
Islands. I have sailed many voyages, but for me
he was my sole Captain. I am on my way back
from London town, where I journeyed to see the
last of him."
" But that was six months since," I said.
" True, sir," he nodded ; " but travelling for a
poor man is slow work, and I have a foolish leg.
"A BETTER INDIES." 233
The worst of the way is by now, and I shall be
home by the week's end."
This he said in a tone of merriment, but I
could see by the leanness of his body that the
journey had been as hard as it had been slow.
" There be loyal men left in the West," I said.
" There were a thousand who would have
walked for Sir Walter to the world's end," he
answered. " But some had wives, and some had
young children, and some were too poor to buy
provender, and only Nathan Stubbs, who calls no
man or woman master, had the luck to go.
What a fortunate man I be ! '
" And now ? " I asked.
" Why, now I go back to Budleigh, to bide
the rest of my days in the house which my uncle
Noah bequeathed me. I am too old for voyages,
and there be no captains to sail with. I will
smoke my pipe on the harbour wall, and tell my
tales to the young, in the hope that I may breed
up another John Hawkins or Francis Drake.
For another Raleigh I have no hope, for his like
comes not again."
He sat himself down on the grass beside us,
234 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
and pulled forth a great brass tobacco-box.
When he had lit his pipe, he inquired of me the
name of the castle in the trees.
I told him it was Sherborne, a former house
of Sir Walter's.
" Ay," said he, " I have heard on't. Sir
Walter had many dwellings in his day, but he
had but the one home. The King could take his
manors, but he could not make him homeless."
Bess looked up at him, and asked of what he
" Why, my lady, as I read it, Sir Walter had
but one home, and that was the sea. Or, maybe
'twas in the Western lands where his fancy ever
turned. But 'twas not in England, or in any
stone walls or green gardens, though he loved
Bess smiled through half-shed tears.
" That is a comforting thought, Master Stubbs.
I have been looking at Sherborne, and grieving
for the happy days that are past, and the fair
estate that is now another's. But you say truly.
Sir Walter had a better estate, which none could
take from him.'
"A BETTER INDIES." 235
" Ay, and 'tis still his, and his spirit holds it
in trust for England. Look you, my lady, when
I saw Sir Walter's head fall I was out of my
mind with sorrow. With some old comrades we
sought our lodging in Wapping, and would have
plotted a great slaughter of them who had com-
passed the crime. But by good fortune I slept
on the matter, and in the morning I was come to
a better mind. For thus I reasoned with myself.
Those who have taken his life have done him the
best service. There is no honest soul in England
but thrills with the shame of it, and glories in so
proud a death. A spirit is abroad which will
breed and multiply, and will yet do more than
Raleigh did in that cause he loved. So I says to
myself, ' Nathan Stubbs,' I says, ' it ill becomes
an ignorant man such as you to be interfering
with the wise ways of the Almighty.' So I held
back the others from violence, and beyond a
broken head or two London took no hurt of us.
We are scattered now, and I am hobbling back
to Budleigh ; ly-.u all th<? way I have cheered my
heart with the promise, I have been in Virginia,
my lady, and seen the noble rivers, and the forests
236 SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
of tall trees, and the plains of deep grass. Some
day we English will dwell there, and build a new
nation. Ay, and wherever on the earth there is
a fine land to be made out of the wilderness our
children will plant the English flag."
He swung to his feet and looked into the West,
where the sun was now beginning to decline.
" There is a short path to Axminster near by,
and I must be well on the road to Misterton
before the darkening. Fare-you-well, my lady.
It is like we will never meet on earth, but
Nathan Stubbs gives you his word of comfort for
a sore heart. 'Tis Sir Walter's saying : Keep in
mind those better Indies than the King of Spain's."
As we watched the steadfast old figure plod-
ding down the road Bess laid her hand on my
arm and smiled.
" God has sent me a true consoler," she said.
" I weep no more for Sherborne. Nay, I rejoice
that Sir Walter hath left to us and to all England
an inheritance so princely."
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By the Same Author.
WITH EIGHT COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS.
Price 3s. 6d.
SOME PRESS NOTICES.
" Prester John is a splendid story, not merely compact
with thrilling scenes, but distinguished by a fine literary
flavour, due partly to the author's style and partly to his
ability to describe men who are not mere automatons.
Davie Crawfurd, Laputa, Wardlaw, an Aberdeen school-
master ; Henriques, a dirty Portuguese scoundrel, and
others are men of flesh and blood as living and real as
the people one meets every day in the street, and a great
deal more interesting." Scotsman.
" Mr. Buchan has done a very bold thing. He has
written a book for boys, without fags, or football, or any
of the- conventional properties. But that is not the full
extent of his inspired audacity. He has written a book
for adults without a love-interest. In a word, he is in
the line and tradition of Defoe and Stevenson. For the
essence of the true book for boys is that it shall be pur-
loined by parents. Prester John, if we mistake not, will be
the cause and occasion of many such ' furtive abstrac-
tions.' " English Review.
" It is as if a breath of the veld cut sharply across the
woolly, comforting fog which hides Mr. Buchan's ' land
behind the mist ' from us, and he sets us face to face with
the magic and adventure of the African world. Here is
no tale of fortune and love there is no woman in the book
save the hero's mother but in place of the heroine's
portrait to front the title-page there is a map, and every one
knows what a map means when Mr. Buchan has drawn it
and set it as the scene of David Crawfurd's adventures.
This is worked out with the skill and conviction which
Mr. Buchan's name stands for. There is magic and ad-
venture, feats of amazing bodily strength and victories of
spiritual supremacy, as the tale of the Kaffir rising moves
to its appointed end." Manchester Guardian.
" Stevenson could hardly have bettered the first chapters
of Mr. Buchan's book." -Daily News.
" It is, as we have said, a magnificent idea for a story-
this highly educated African, eloquent in the cause of
missions, much sought after by the churches at home,
proving to be in reality a man of commanding influence
among his fellows, indulging a dream of boundless
Empire and omnipotent rule, and working with the zeal
of a prophet and the skill of the born leader to bring about
its realization. And the story is splendidly told. With
breathless interest we follow David Crawfurd to the mys-
terious cave where the chiefs gather to see their leader
purified and vested with the ' jewels that burned in Sheba's
hair.' " The Aberdeen Free Press.
" If we can accept Stevenson's definition of Romance as
' sudden consciousness of background ' (and by ' back-
ground ' he evidently meant the hidden forces that work
behind it), then David Crawfurd, the narrator of Mr.
Buchan's latest novel, Pre&ter John, assistant-storekeeper
at Blaauwildebeestefontein, South Africa, and sometime
boy and lantern-bearer of Kirkcaple, Fifeshire, is a
romancer to the manner born. Not until we had reached
the end of the story did we realize that, apart from a
brief mention of David's mother at the beginning, there
had not been through all its pages so much as the flutter
of a single petticoat. 'Even the youngest hearts
grow old/ he protests in his dedication. But we have
found only youth in the epic freshness and gusto of his
spirited tale." Westminster Gazette.
" ' It is a long time since I came across a romance so fine
as Prester John, by Mr. John Buchan/ says Mr. James
Douglas. ' I think Robert Louis Stevenson would have
revelled in it, for it is in the Stevensonian vein, although
not in the least imitative either in style or in plot.' " The
" Young David Crawfurd, the narrator and hero of
Mr. Buchan's vehemently exciting South African romance,
is a son of the manse who abandons theology for com-
merce and adventure. On the recommendation of an
uncle, he gets the offer of acting as an assistant-store-
keeper in the North Transvaal, promptly closes with it, and
starts for South Africa in a fortnight. The narrative is
packed full of incident, and room is found for much illu-
minating mental portraiture." The Spectator.
THOMAS NELSON AND SONS,
London, Edinburgh, Dublin, and New York.
ME X I C O
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F 1 R ME